Storm Repairs Underway At Ocean Springs Harbor

The rhythmic sound of a pile driver echoes off sailboats and shrimp trawlers at Ocean Springs harbor.  Marine construction crews are restoring what Katrina ripped apart.

"Right now we're replacing all the pilings that were broken or destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, as well as all the finger piers that were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina," said harbormaster Johnny Hughes.

A crane towers above sailboat masts. The $200,000 project is one boat owners have been waiting for.

"We've re-established 25 slips already in here. And we'll probably be in here for another month and a half to two months," said Hughes.

Harbormaster Johnny Hughes says once the marine construction crews clear out, a dredging project can get started.

"The dredging will be all the way out from the East Biloxi channel into the Kensington bridge, which includes the inner harbor in the back. And we should dredge it to approximately ten feet," Hughes said, "We had a lot of silt and a lot of mud flow in there after the storm. We have several slips in the back harbor we can't even use because they filled up with mud and silt since the storm."

Another project will be rebuilding the harbormaster's office. It will be raised to an elevation of 20 feet and replace the temporary trailer that's now sits at 14 feet.

Fishermen will be happy to learn that bids will soon go out on the long awaited project to rebuild the fishing pier at Ocean Springs harbor.

The new pier will be basically the same footprint as the old one, but it will be much stronger, with concrete pilings replacing the wooden ones.

Ocean Springs harbor remains one of the most popular on the coast. There are 174 boat slips here and 120 names on a waiting list for available slips.

The Ocean Springs harbor had long been considered a safe haven for boaters seeking shelter during a storm. But the extreme wind and waves of Hurricane Katrina proved too much.