East Biloxi back bay loop closer to reality

East Biloxi back bay loop closer to reality
The loop is currently in the preliminary planning stages. (Photo source: WLOX News)
The loop is currently in the preliminary planning stages. (Photo source: WLOX News)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - An east Biloxi four-lane connector loop along Back Bay has been talked about for years. Now, it's close to turning into action.

The site would become home to a proposed multi-million dollar Foxwoods Casino. Roads currently leading to the area can't handle the thousands of cars that could come calling.

"With the two lane roads you have back there now, it's just not very appealing to multi-million dollar development," said David Nichols, chief administrative officer for Biloxi.

The loop would begin at Pine St. and Hwy. 90, connect to Bayview Ave. and Back Bay Blvd., and then onto Caillavet St. At a cost of $22 million, it would look almost identical to the present day Caillavet.

"The state has committed $5 million," said Biloxi public affairs manager Vincent Creel. "The developer, Chris Ferrara, has committed $7 million; plus right of way. The City of Biloxi right now is looking for $9 million."

Nichols says the loop could even make the Margaritaville Casino, which has been vacant for almost two years, more marketable.

"Just about everyone to the person says the road is essential to their development. Without a road, without a new access, that development will not happen," Nichols noted.

City officials admit the main reason this loop is being built is to serve the gaming industry, including the proposed casino. However, they also hope the loop will have residual effect in an area devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

"We've always said that east Biloxi is going to be more commercial post-Katrina, and this is going to help bring the traffic down there which means we'll bring businesses down there," said Creel.

Steve Smith, who visits the Coast almost every year, says the proposal is appealing.

"I think it's a great idea. I think it would bring people from out of town for tourism. It's an area that I think people would like to come visit for up to a week at a time," Smith said.

City officials say the loop is in the preliminary planning stages.  Although no date has been set for construction to begin, they're hopeful it will finished by 2019; coinciding with the opening of the proposed $265 million Foxwoods Casino.

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