East Biloxi is one big construction zone - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

East Biloxi is one big construction zone

Infrastructure replacement project underway in Biloxi (Photo Source: WLOX News) Infrastructure replacement project underway in Biloxi (Photo Source: WLOX News)
Infrastructure replacement project underway in Biloxi (Photo Source: WLOX News) Infrastructure replacement project underway in Biloxi (Photo Source: WLOX News)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

It's going to be a mess for quite some time, but it will be worth it when it's done. That word comes from the man responsible for overseeing the largest infrastructure project ever in the City of Biloxi.

Restore Biloxi is a $360 million project replacing miles of sewer lines, water lines and storm drains. The lion's share of that work is in East Biloxi, where residents are getting used to dodging the dust and detour signs.

It has become a familiar site on The Point in East Biloxi. Drivers navigate through an ever changing maze of construction work. They'd better get used to it, because this infrastructure replacement is just getting started.

“You're laying the foundation for the city's growth for the next 50 years by doing this kind of work. It's a real opportunity for the City of Biloxi,” said HNTB program manager Marvin Dalla Rosa, who's in charge of overseeing the enormous project.

He says perhaps the biggest challenge is balancing all those active work zones with daily living, which must go on for residents in the affected areas.

“Everybody has to get to and from their house. It's not convenient, and you've got to keep services going while this work is done. It's not as if you've got an isolated site where you can just get on and work. People have got to get in and out, school, police, fire, garbage. Everything has got to come and go while this work is going on,” Dalla Rosa explained.

What's most impressive is the enormous scope of this project. In all, 385,000 feet of sewer lines, 425,000 feet of water lines and 325,000 feet of storm drains must be replaced. In all, 100 miles of city streets will be affected.

Removing the old water and sewer lines has proved challenging. Many of the old plans were lost in Hurricane Katrina, giving workers little guidance in locating the old pipes.

“The problem they run into in a lot of areas is that they hit a line that nobody knew was there. Or they don't have the valves to be able to shut off some of these areas. So, they have to dig very carefully and very deliberately,” said Dalla Rosa.

Right now, there's about $175 million worth of work that's either completed or underway. Work still to come will last into 2018.

“They've just got to be patient. It's going to be a mess for a while, but it's going to be worth it when it's done,” said the project manager.

The work also involves replacing and consolidating old sewage pump stations. The new ones will be much more storm resistant.

All those new pipes going into the ground should last at least 50 years. After all, some of the old ones they're digging up were put in the ground 80 or 90 years ago.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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