Tips for Navigating Traffic During Cruisin’ The Coast

It’s the most colorful time of year in southern Mississippi when cruise along the coast It draws 10,000 vintage and classic car owners, plus their fans, to the waterfront.

The $36 million economic impact from visitors also comes with traffic problems for locals trying to get to work, school or the store.

As in communities that host NASCAR races or week-long music or other sporting events, locals complain but learn to avoid heavier traffic by changing their route or driving times.

The events are spread out across the three Coast counties to disperse crowds, said Woody Bailey, executive director of Cruisin’ The Coast.

People are drawn to the event each year because of “the chemistry of Highway 90 and the beaches,” he said. That, coupled with the friendliness of the people, the food and the casinos attract more people each year at a time of year that is otherwise slow for the owners and staff of hotels, restaurants, attractions and convenience stores. Coast.

“We have something great here,” Bailey said.

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Classic cars parked along the streets during View the Cruise on the first day of Cruisin’ The Coast in downtown Gulfport on Sunday, October 2, 2022. Hannah Ruhoff

Traffic Tips for Cruisin’ The Coast

Here are some ways to avoid traffic jams this week:

Cruisin’s heaviest traffic is along the beach, from Interstate 110 to the Edgewater Mall, near the Biloxi-Gulfport line.

Traffic also backs up at Cruise Central at Centennial Plaza in Gulfport on Mondays and Tuesdays, when cruise ships check in. Early bird registration ended in mid-August and opened at 11 a.m. Monday. The Mississippi Department of Transportation began sending traffic congestion advisories around noon Monday. Registration is from 9 am to 5 pm on Tuesday.

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Orange cones separate cruisers from the rest of the traffic on Highway 90 as cars arrive at Centennial Plaza in Gulfport for Cruisin’ The Coast on Monday, October 4, 2021. Cones will also be placed along the highway at Biloxi on Friday to provide a lane, if needed, for emergency access. hannah ruhoff hruhoff@sunherald.com

The busiest days are Fridays and Saturdays. biloxi will be placing orange cones before dawn Friday from I-110 to DeBuys Road and the cones will be more widely spaced than in previous years. The traffic plan will be activated on Friday and Saturday if necessary, limiting traffic to the right or outside lanes on Beach Boulevard and reserving the left or center lanes for emergency vehicles only.

For real-time traffic advisories, text BILOXI to 99411

Expect lots of traffic around Cruisin’ sites every day. Check the daily schedule for Cruisin’ sites where streets will be closed.

Locations and site maps are available on the Cruisin’ website.

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Palm trees against bright blue skies and streets lined with vintage and classic cars and their admirers combine to create a grand scene along 14th Street in Gulfport during View the Cruise on the first day of Cruisin’ The Coast on Sunday, October 2, 2022. Hannah Ruhoff hruhoff@sunherald.com

Go early. Traffic is generally light in the morning before 9-10am and you’ll be able to admire cruise ships sharing the road.

Arrives early. The best parking and exhibit spaces for cruise ships fill up quickly. For Wednesday’s Cruisin’ The Coast block party in downtown Biloxi, the city advises passengers to arrive by 6 am. Those who arrive late to the party may have trouble finding a parking space.

Only cruise ships can park at the venues. Spectators will park off site and walk around to admire the cars and trucks, chat with their owners, and listen to the bands. Volunteers direct traffic at locations.

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Vintage and classic cars Cruisin’ The Coast mingle with the daily traffic along the beach on US 90. Alyssa Newton Sun Herald Archive

If you’re not going on a cruise, stay off US 90 this week. Buy early. Take Pass Road or, if you’re a local who knows the back roads, use them to avoid most of the traffic.

If you’re driving down Beach Boulevard, slow down this week and admire the cars and the beach. It’s one of the few places in the country where you’ll see so many rare, fun, and exotic cars and trucks cruising the beach.

Profile picture of Maria Perez

Mary Perez has won awards for her articles on business and casinos for the Sun Herald. She also writes about Biloxi, jobs, and the new restaurants and development coming to the coast. She is a fourth generation journalist.

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