BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Nearly a decade after Hurricane Katrina, $117 million worth of work to replaced old and damaged infrastructure is finally underway in East Biloxi and officials said there are even more improvements ahead for that area. While work has started on installing the new water, sewer and drainage lines, it will be a while before some residents see the full impact of the overhaul.
Officials said because of certain challenges completing work in East Biloxi is going to take years. For one there are no maps of current infrastructure, crews are digging blind.
"You've got a lot of old lines that they don't really know where all the lines are that you run into so they run into a lot of things they had no idea was there," said Marvin Dalla Rosa, project manager.
Dalla Rosa works for HNTB, the company the city hired to oversee the massive infrastructure overhaul from design, to the securing of right-of-way to construction.
That's not the only challenge.
"You've got narrow streets. You've got deep sewer cuts. You've got a lot of water and sewer to put in and big storm drains while everyone is still there. So that the biggest challenge to coordinate all this work while people are still living and working there," Dalla Rosa said.
Officials said the people who live and work in East Biloxi should expect to see construction signs for the next three years but officials believe the end result will be worth the inconvenience.
"Your system itself is better designed to handle the next hurricane. The next big storm because a lot of thought was put into how to make this more resistant," Dalla Rosa said. "It's not hurricane proof. It's not that it's not going to go down but it's going to be easier to come back up and quicker to come back up with hopefully less damage."
Some residents said they're already looking forward to the perks of a brand new infrastructure system.
"It's going to make it better for the residents," said Terry Haynes of Biloxi. "Because we talked to one of the guys who was riding around putting the little stickers in the ground. He said the water lines that were here was real small and he said the pressure we would know the difference when they put the pipes in the ground. The pressure would awesome."
Officials say an $85 million contract to replace East Biloxi infrastructure south of the railroad tracks is scheduled to go out for bid next month.