January 26, 2006

More bridge blues for MDOT

What little of MDOT's public image remains continues to take a downward slide, with two more recent events. First, they only received one bid for the Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge replacement, which came in significantly higher than estimated. And the company that made that bid also bid on the Bay St. Louis bridge and preferred the latter if they had to choose between the two. So while MDOT now has a contract out for replacing the Bay St. Louis bridge (albeit $66 million higher than estimated), they're still without a contract for their Biloxi-Ocean Springs plan.

And as if that wasn't enough, the Coast Guard has now weighed in on the Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge issues (now centered over the need of a drawbridge vs. a fixed-span), saying that MDOT needs to resolve those issues before they'll grant approval. Not only has Trinity Yachts said they need a drawbridge, but Northrup Grumman has piped in with the same concern, as has Harrison County's economic development coordinator.

It got back enough the past few days to where your's truly weighed in with a Letter to the Editor in the SunHerald. I basically lambasted both sides for ignorance when it came to the fight over adding a drawspan to MDOT's bridge proposal. And lo and behold, this morning in my E-mail box was an E-mail from the vice president of Trinity Yachts explaining his position and basically taking issue with my calling them ignorant.

Will be interesting to see how this all pans out, with there now being 4 major issues surrounding the bridge replacement (drawspan, number of lanes, location, and lack of bidders). Unfortunately, I don't think the final product will wind up serving the best interests of the Coast.

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