Katrina Sends Millions Down The Drain In Biloxi

Millions of dollars in Biloxi city improvements have gone down the drain. Mayor A.J. Holloway says in the last 12 years, Biloxi has spent $200 million upgrading streets, drainage, and sewage. Holloway says Hurricane Katrina wiped out most of that work and now potential road hazards are popping up on the streets of Biloxi.

The rain dumped plenty of work on Biloxi public works crews on Wednesday.

"We've got a lot of drains clogged up. We're getting to them as fast as we can," crew member Ron Greshan said.

Working as fast as they could, the crews had done more before 11 a.m. than many people do all day.

"I guess we've probably done about 30 of them today," said Greshan.

The mayor says the hurricane left storm drains full of sand and debris. Katrina also hurt the city's ability to unclog the drains.

"We're clearing as many storm drains as we possibly can, but we had two vacuum trucks that we lost," said Holloway. "We have not replaced those yet, so we do not have the equipment to take care of it. That's why we're having to do it manually."

The mayor urges drivers to keep a sharp eye on road.. so they don't end up with costly car repairs.

"Drivers need to beware of the potholes. We've got on right down here at the foot of Lameuse street that we need to get patched there," he said.

"It's caving all over the city right now. Under the city of Biloxi we have this shifting sand. The rain that we got and the water that we got from Katrina sat on the asphalt for hours and just soaked in. We got sort of a double whammy there and now we're seeing the result of potholes coming up all over the city."

Biloxi is seeking help from FEMA to make repairs to the streets and drainage system, but Holloway says that will take hundreds of thousands of dollars and it will take years.

"It just wiped it out, so we have to start all over again in a lot of areas," said Holloway.

Mayor Holloway says pipes and culverts in the older sections of the city are cracked and worn out.