OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Coast residents who already enjoy walking the bridge that connects Biloxi to Ocean Springs will soon have another option for walking and biking.
Construction is about to begin on a new beach walk that begins at the base of the bridge in Ocean Springs and ends at the Ocean Springs Harbor.
Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran said the $2.2 million beach project gives the community more of the amenities they have been asking for.
"We're very excited. We've had a lot of public input, people have told us they want Ocean Springs to be more connected, more walkable, and more places to ride their bikes," Mayor Moran said.
The 1.2 mile, 10 foot wide sidewalk, will meander along the beach, giving walkers and bikers a safer, more scenic route to travel. Along the way, visitors may also want to stop to enjoy the new Ft. Maurepas Park. The sidewalk will be built first, followed by special lighting and landscaping.
Ocean Springs' Director of Planning Eric Meyer said, "It's a little different from Harrison County's walk. Their's is flush to the road and the seawall. Ours will be more on the beach to give it a park like setting."
Mayor Moran said there are other benefits as well.
"Another unique feature is it will be concrete to minimize storm damage. And there will be a swell of vegetation, palmettos, etc... between the seawall and the walkway that will help keep the sand from blowing, and serve as storm water retention."
Funding for the $2.2 million project comes from a Community Development Block Grant and hurricane replacement costs from Federal Highway Emergency Relief Funds.
Meyer said construction begins Monday, September 28th, and should be completed before next summer.
"We're starting by the bridge and working eastward and hope to inconvenience as few people as possible, and be done with the work by April 1st."
Click here to see a detailed rendering of the plans for Front Beach.