Pass Christian Manufacturer Helping Build South Mississippi - - The News for South Mississippi

Pass Christian Manufacturer Helping Build South Mississippi

Another giant, concrete girder leaves Gulf Coast Pre-Stress Concrete on a weekday afternoon. This one is bound for a bridge construction project in Florida.

But the company's specialty products are being used in bridge and building projects throughout the area.

"We're doing parts of the Bay St. Louis bridge and parts of the Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge. We just signed a contract with the twin spans, the I-10 bridge going across Lake Pontchartrain," said company president, Mike Spruill.

The 100 acre concrete plant in the Pass Christian industrial park is busier than ever. Girders and piles for bridge projects are just part of the company's work order. The concrete products also provide firm foundations for casino and condominium projects.

Specialized trucks deliver the concrete to the various molds around the yard. Steel cable and reinforcement bar is used to "pre stress" the various concrete products, making them much stronger.

"We've got different applications compared to where you make the beams for the bridges or the pilings for bridges. One is made for compression and one's made to span long distances," Mike Spruill explained to visitors.

Before getting busy with post-Katrina building projects, the Pass Christian company had to recover from the storm's damage. The hurricane dumped 15 feet of water there, destroying buildings and equipment.

Dedicated workers got it up and running quickly.

"We were able to get back in production within 30 days after the storm. So, we're real pleased with that. We have a good crew of people out here that's been with us for years. And they know exactly what to do," said Q.D. Spruill.

To give you some idea of the company's dramatic increase in business since Katrina, consider this. So far this year, Gulf Coast Pre-Stress has done about 40 million dollars in sales. The company's best year ever was 42 million.

And the concrete product maker doesn't expect a slowdown anytime soon.

"It looks very busy for the next four to five years. Extremely busy," said the younger Spruill.

Gulf Coast Pre-Stress employs some 350 workers. The company has a payroll of more than one million dollars a month.

By Steve Phillips

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