Beach Road Work To Begin This Summer In Bay St. Louis - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Beach Road Work To Begin This Summer In Bay St. Louis

BAY ST. LOUIS (WLOX) -- Hurricane recovery in Old Town Bay St. Louis took a major step forward with the recent completion of infrastructure work on Main Street.

"As a merchant and a resident of Bay St. Louis, it was the beginning of the end in a good way," downtown shop owner Deborah Kennedy said. "And I think now we're more encouraged about the work beginning on Beach Boulevard."

In June, the city is expected to award a contract for infrastructure improvements on Beach Boulevard. The $10 million project will include all new utilities along with the roadway.

"The point that we're at now, all the right of ways have finally been acquired in that stretch of Beach Boulevard. It will be wider in some areas, there'll be much improved parking, much improved pedestrian access, sidewalks," County Engineer Geoffrey Clemens said.

Bay St. Louis City Administrator Buz Olsen agrees.

"We're going to see a lot of things that's going to make it people friendly - benches, trees, flowers, the lighting - a lot of things we weren't able to do before because of the nature of the road."

The work is scheduled to start this summer and is expected to be finished in early 2010. By fall 2008, the U.S. Army Corps will begin rebuilding a new seawall for the beach road.

"The seawall that the Corps of Engineers has under design currently will be a fairly massive concrete structure that's going to be a lot higher than the old structure, so it will be almost up to road level," Clemens said. "So it will be a structure that will handle, hopefully, anything Mother Nature has to throw at it."

Downtown shop owners hope the improvements will encourage merchants who haven't returned to find their way back to the beach.

The beach road project is being funded by FEMA and the Federal Highway Administration. Hancock County supervisors will award contracts for the remaining improvement work from Washington Street to Bayou Caddy in June.

By Al Showers

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