Council president weighs-in on massive infrastructure project

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Some Biloxi city council members want to know why the city's massive infrastructure work after Hurricane Katrina is taking so long.

Ward 5 councilman and Biloxi council president Paul Tisdale says he knows why the work is time consuming, but he does want to see it completed in a timely manner.

It's all part of the city's $355 million dollar infrastructure project to improve hundreds of miles of roads, drainage, water and sewer.

City leaders thought all the work would be finished this year, but in fact there are several projects that haven't even started yet. Some council members wonder, what's the hold up with the work and the company doing it HNTB.

"The councilmen in east Biloxi in particularly Wards one and two have concerns that they do not see any projects or very few projects beginning in their Wards. And there's a sense, eight and a half years after Hurricane Katrina, that the contractor responsible for these projects is not moving quickly enough for the citizens of east Biloxi," Tisdale said.

There are several miles of storm drains and several miles of sewer and water lines that need to replaced or repaired in residential or commercial areas. Tisdale says he realizes lots of planning needs to be done so that city services continue moving despite the work.

"While you're replacing these water and sewage lines and digging around power lines you really can't interrupt the service. There will be line breaks, which means they have to be repaired. So it's not just a matter of we go in and tear everything and put in new stuff. It's we go in, we have to make provisions to continue service to those commercial and residential customers and at the same time replace what's there," said Tisdale.

FEMA is footing the $ 355 million bill for all the improvements in the city.

Last, week city council members voted to not pay HNTB's latest invoice because of how long the project is taking. Click here to see details on the project. Click here to sign up for Biloxi newsletters to see when projects in your area begin.

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