West Gulfport and Long Beach one giant construction zone - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

West Gulfport and Long Beach one giant construction zone

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

By Steve Phillips – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS  (WLOX) - It will be a summer of orange barrels and detour signs in West Gulfport and Long Beach. That area of the Mississippi gulf coast is one giant construction zone.

Drivers will have to practice a little patience during this ongoing Katrina restoration work.

"It's a big infrastructure overhaul: Streets. Drainage. Water. Sewer. You name it, we're doing it," said City of Gulfport spokesman, Ryan LaFontaine.

From the looks of all the heavy equipment, the work in West Gulfport is one big project.

"The part from 30th to Broad Avenue is about 93 percent complete. We're excited about that. There's new storm drainage; there's new water; there's new sewerage. It's a $22 million phase of that project. We expect to finish up sometime in the fall," LaFontaine said.

Phase two is a $13 million street and drainage project between Broad and Lewis Avenues.  About 25 percent complete, that portion should be finished by next summer.

Road work is also heating up in Long Beach.

"Between Girard and Nicholson should be wrapping up in August. And we have from Lang Avenue west to the city limits. That's about a November finish or late October. USM to the east line should also be around October, November finish. From Girard Avenue to Lang Avenue, that one should probably be November or first of December," said Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie.

Mayor Skellie appreciates the patience of residents who've endured detour signs and road closures for the past year.

He said it's good to have the end of the work in sight.

And it's more than just a quality of life issue for citizens; new infrastructure is incentive for economic development.

"We just hope this will help lure and make people feel confident about their investment that they put into the city, the things we've tried to do to try and bring 'em in," said the mayor.

Both cities ask drivers for a little more patience please.

"Anytime you do a project like this, you have to be patient. And it wears on your patience. But once it's over, it will be well worth the wait for everyone in Westside," said LaFontaine.

Along with all the street improvements in Long Beach, Mayor Skellie is looking forward to the completion of two public building projects.

The new Long Beach city hall should be finished in August and the new fire station on Second Street will be done by December.

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