BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Residents and businesses voiced their frustration Tuesday over seven years of road work. The community was able to get a clearer picture of the $365 million Biloxi Infrastructure repair program.
"We need a little bit more transparency," one resident said.
"I got customers that I would see maybe twice a month or three times a month. They only come once a month now," said the owner of Pioneer Barber and Beauty Salon, as heavy machinery continued work on the roads just outside businesses and homes.
"I have several concerns. One is my property value. I can't sell my house for a quarter as it stands today," said another resident.
"We need to know what's going on. We need to know where, when, why and how we're going to do it. And we also need to have passable roads," said Councilman Felix Gines.
During a presentation, HNTB Program Manager Marvin Dalla Rosa showcases the projects status.
"What you've got at this point is you've got 20 projects, 10 of which are complete and six of which are either under construction and winding up. You've got four that are either, to be bid, one of them is out for bid right now and one of them is awaiting notice to proceed," said Dalla Rosa.
A major concern for residents and city leaders has been what's caused all the delays. The answer--engineering and weather issues.
"We received an engineering revision in April of 198 pages of plan sheets that lowered the roadways. So everything we had already put in the ground had to be removed and replaced because of those roadways being lower," said Oscar Renda Project Manager Tony Morrow.
Morrow said Oak and Division Streets will be paved soon.
As for the roads being torn up all at one time, Dalla Rosa said it's because the project involves large, complex systems like water and sewer.
"You can't just take up just one section or one street and do it. You have to keep everyone in service while this goes on. So you have to build the new system while the existing system is in place," Dalla Rosa said.
The projects leaders want to remind the community this a huge project and issues are going to happen especially when you have over 1,200,000 feet of line and about 100 miles of road to replace.
City leaders suggested a temporary fix of temporary paving to the bumpy, dusty, unpaved roads.
However, Morrow said that wouldn't be covered by FEMA funds. Therefore, the city would have to figure out how to fund temporary paving.
The Biloxi Infrastructure Repair Program is a recovery program for the FEMA funded damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.
HNTB oversees the construction and inspection of the project and manages the paperwork for FEMA and the invoices. The entire project encompasses Biloxi's Pointe Cadet area down Highway 90 to Debuys Road and areas north and west around the Biloxi's Bay.
The entire program is based on the replacement of water, sewer, and storm drain systems and 73 pump stations damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Roads will be repaired once the new infrastructure is put in place.
HNTB started working on the project back in 2008. It's contract is set to expire with the city in February 2016.
Sixteen engineering firms are in charge of 37 different design phases of the project.
Oscar Renda Construction handles the North contract of this project, which encompasses everything from Pointe Cadet, north of the tracks to Keesler Air Force Base.