Biloxi seafood retailer says road construction is killing business

Biloxi seafood retailer says road construction is killing business

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Residents and businesses in east Biloxi are saying the $355 million infrastructure project is tearing up roads and turning into a major inconvenience.

"People are not coming down these streets, because the roads are so messed up here," said Sean Desporte, owner of Desporte and Sons Seafood on Division Street.

The business is stuck right in the middle of Biloxi's infrastructure project north of the railroad tracks throughout the downtown area and east Biloxi.

January is crawfish season, and business is usually booming. Desporte has seen a dramatic drop in traffic. His customers are worried the impact on their vehicles, and employees are concerned about a business slowdown.

"A lot of people are going different routes. That's why we're not seeing the traffic. It's hurting our business. My employees are saying it's really bad, and they're worried, too. I'm telling them, look, I'm going to take care of you the best I can," said Desporte.

"We're asking people to remain patient. We said all along this is a three year process. It's not behind schedule. It's not scheduled to be completed until Aug. 29 of 2017," said Biloxi spokesman Vincent Creel.

Biloxi is trying to find a way to ease the pain. At Tuesday's city council meeting, leaders will consider a proposal to lay a coat of temporary asphalt on some of the busiest roads. The price tag would be $600,000.

"There's only so much we can do. We're looking at possibly doing some temporary paving. We'll see on Tuesday if the council approves that," Creel said.

Desporte hopes that plan is put in place. Meanwhile, in an effort to keep his business thriving, Desporte may have to resort to a new approach to selling seafood.

"We might have to set up some place else. Maybe get a permit to sell on the beach or do whatever we need to to keep people working and keep the tradition going," Desporte said.

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