Piers in Gulfport and Biloxi could be repaired by summer

Piers in Gulfport and Biloxi could be repaired by summer
Piers in Gulfport could be repaired by mid to late summer.

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The main destruction Hurricane Nate left behind in Harrison County was to the piers, and since the October storm, Coast leaders have been working to find ways to repair them.

Progress is being made, and some of these piers in the Coast's two largest cities may be back by this summer.

However, in the meantime, it's a frustration for those who love their walkways over the water.

Steven Riley fishes all along the Coast, and none of his favorite piers are operational.

"We had a lot of good fishing in Biloxi especially Lighthouse Pier," he said. "But, they haven't got to theirs either."

But there is some good news. On Wednesday, Biloxi accepted bids to repair the Lighthouse Pier for $139,000. After a bid review, construction could start by mid-May and be finished by late June. A single bid to repair the Coliseum Pier, Ice Warf Pier, and Oak Street North Pier in Biloxi came in at $22,700. That project also could be completed in late June.

In Gulfport, Nate damaged four front-beach piers. Gus Wesson with the Department of Leisure Services says that the funding for three of those pier repairs will be through Tidelands' money. And the fourth pier, the Libby Milner Roland Pier, will be funded through city money, and because of that, it will be the first to reopen.

Bids for the work on Urie Pier, Ken Combs Pier, and Moses Pier will be open until the end of April. The goal for the construction to be completed is middle to late summer.

Ronnie Gauthreaux of New Orleans and his family were looking forward to an up-close view of the water but came away disappointed.

"We came in for a little weekend vacation," he said. "And pulled up, saw the piers and was like really excited to go out to the piers and couldn't do it."

Riley is frustrated and has good reason to fish off piers.

"All of the reefs are in front of the piers," he said. "And chances of we here catching fish is slim because most of the fish don't come off the reef. By the time they get off the reef, we're probably been here and gone."

Hattiesburg resident Jeremy Rogers has his preference where he fishes.

"I love fishing off piers. I come down here quite a bit," he said. "Seems to be a little more convenient. You've got more options."

But pier damage doesn't keep him away.

"Absolutely not," he added. "A fisherman is a fisherman, you know?"

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