Construction set to start on Katrina-damaged fishing dock

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - You really have to watch your step at the Commercial Fishing Dock near downtown Biloxi.   There's cracked concrete, toppled piers, exposed steel, and gaping holes. Plywood covers some of the damage and there's still no power there. Even tourists call the dock dangerous.

Debbie Roper of Florida said, "[The dock is] a little scary to walk on. It's shaky, scary, uneven."

Biloxi shrimper David Stewart said the dock's run-down condition is driving customers away.

"It's kind of an eyesore right now you know. Some people stand at the end of the dock, won't even come down here," said Stewart.

The eyesore is about to disappear. Next month, the city will award a bid to rebuild the harbor and replace what Katrina wiped-away.

"This all will be completely rebuilt, the break walls put back in, new t-piers are going to be rebuilt completely with new concrete. The east wall will be completely rebuilt with all new concrete slabs. It'll be brand, new pier with new electrical and new water," said Frankie Duggan, Biloxi Port Manager.

The harbor will be dredged about ten-feet deep to remove all the mud Katrina pushed in.

"A lot of silt in here," said Duggan. "Of course, without the break walls being in here for so long, stuff steadily flows into it. So we're excited about getting it all done."

During the construction, 20 shrimp boats will dock temporarily at Point Cadet Marina.  The other 20 boats will relocate to the Small Craft Harbor. The work should take about six months, and shrimpers will have a cleaner, safer home for their vessels.

"Make them look a lot nicer you know," said Stewart. "Oh yeah, just ready for it to be done."

The $2.4 million harbor construction is funded by FEMA. There's another harbor reconstruction project that's about to start in September. It's the Lighthouse Fishing Dock on Biloxi's Back Bay.

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