With every hole drilled in the lumber, and every bolt hammered into place, Harrison County is closer to having a pedestrian walkway covering all 26 miles of beach.
Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver said "It's a combination of sidewalks and boardwalks in different areas where we might have a concern with the closeness of the traffic on Highway 90 versus where our pedestrians would be walking".
Pedestrian safety is just one reason for the expanded beach-front boardwalk. The other is preventing the sand from blowing onto Highway 90.
Weaver said "The boardwalk kind of creates this barrier that traps the sand much better than the seawall does".
Part of the project includes a boardwalk that curves around the southern side of the I-110 loop, and in front of Beauvoir in Biloxi. You may remember, a boardwalk was supposed to go in here during the first phase in the 1990's. It didn't happen, because Beauvoir officials raised concerns that a boardwalk could cause property damage during a storm.
Weaver said "Beauvoir had some concern about possibly timbers breaking loose from the boardwalk and create some damage to their property. We revisited that issue last year with them and to our benefit we had several tropical systems that the boardwalk weathered the storm. We had Hurricane Georges, and Isidore, and Lili and Allison the previous year, and we suffered no damage on the boardwalk".
Patrick Hotard is the director of Beauvoir. He said "Our board looked over the plans, and they approved of the design. I think it's a very solid structure. It appears to be very well thought out, and we think it will be good for the Gulf Coast".
Good in terms of tourism, because the boardwalk will offer beach-lovers a place to feel safe while they soak in the scenery.
Money from the county, state, and federal government will pay for the $4 million project. The city of Biloxi is pitching in $100,000 to build the boardwalk at the I-110 loop. The entire project should take about a year to complete.