Biloxi Gets $355 Million For Katrina Infrastructure Replacement

BILOXI (WLOX) -- Katrina put a lot of Biloxi's infrastructure under water. Now the city is preparing for a $355 million replacement project. Biloxi's mayor says this public works project is  unlike anything the city has done in its 300 year history.

The streets of Biloxi have been a mixture of potholes and patches since Hurricane Katrina.

"As you drive the streets of Biloxi, you can tell where it's all cracked up, the asphalt and the concrete," said Mayor A.J. Holloway.

Biloxi finally has the millions of FEMA dollars needed to replace the infrastructure in areas swamped by Katrina's storm surge.

Here's the breakdown of work to be done:

  • Pave 100 miles of streets
  • Replace or repair 170 miles of sewer and water lines
  • Replace or repair 60 miles of storm drains
  • Replace or repair 48 lift stations
  • Replace or repair 22 water wells
  • Repair sidewalks

"This work is going to take anywhere from four to six years or maybe longer before it is complete," said Mayor Holloway. "It's over the whole city, so we don't want to shut down the whole city, paralyze it. We're going to be working in different areas of the city at different times and letting the people know which streets are open, which streets are closed, where we are, and how we are coming."

Holloway says work will take place wherever there was storm surge in Point Cadet, West Biloxi, Back Bay and Woolmarket. However, one section of Biloxi that won't be under construction is Highway 90.

"MDOT is not allowing us to lay any lines under Highway 90, sewer lines or water lines. We will work around that with the right-of-way that we have. If we don't have enough right-of-way on Highway 90, we'll go back to the next street behind it and do it there. We will not be tearing up what MDOT is doing now," Mayor A.J. Holloway said.

The mayor says to expect the work to begin late this year or in early 2009.

Thursday, Biloxi city leaders met with officials from various construction firms. The city hopes to hire one of them to act as project manager, to keep all the work on schedule.