OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Work is underway on many aspects of a large Harbor Road improvement project in Ocean Springs, including improved draining, sidewalks, and even picnic tables.
"We have four ramps that will be lengthened about 10 feet so trailers won't have a drop off into the channel," said Mayor Connie Moran. "We'll have better, improved finger piers and some lighting and electricity and it will be more convenient because they'll be separated from the people just trying to go through on Harbor Road."
The boat launch project was supposed to be the work that launched the Harbor Road project, but officials say the contractor was stalled for more than a week by a lack of a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Jackson County is currently handling the process and Mayor Moran says all the necessary paperwork had been submitted.
Even when the wetlands permit is available, one issue remains — the contractor had to leave to go to another job.
"With the change in the timeline, we have to coordinate not only with the contractor and the ability to bring the barge and the crane back in to do the boat ramps, but also county crews were going to contribute some man hours as well as well as materials," Mayor Moran said. "So we just have to sync those in depending on when we get the permit, and we do expect that this week."
Though the mayor says it is not a problem for the boat launch work to go on simultaneously with other harbor work once the contractor returns, an alternative launch spot may soon be unavailable.
"The Gulf Coast Research Lab has been gracious enough over the past several years to allow citizens to utilize their boat launches on the weekends. However, they're about to start a refurbishment of their own boat ramp area as well in the next couple of weeks so that may be closed," said Mayor Moran. "We are going to try to keep one boat ramp open here at the harbor on weekends."
The mayor expects all the work will be finished in six months. City officials say the remaining improvements on Harbor Road are moving forward and ahead of schedule.