Biloxi to seek firm to oversee massive infrastructure work

The City of Biloxi, after receiving notice of FEMA funding, is seeking to hire a project-management team to oversee the largest public works undertaking in the history of the city, a project to replace or repair all infrastructure in the Katrina storm-surge areas of the city.

The city has published notices locally, as well as in Jackson, Mobile and New Orleans newspapers to solicit interest in the project. Notices were also placed nationally. A pre-proposal bid conference will be held Thursday at Biloxi City Hall, with statements of qualifications due May 15. Any necessary interviews will be conducted by June 6, and a firm is expected to be hired by mid-June.

The work, expected to take several years, will involve the paving of about 100 miles of streets, and the replacement and repair of about 170 miles of sewer and water lines, and 60 miles of storm drains. The initial cost estimate for the work is $355 million.

“A public works undertaking of this magnitude is unprecedented in the 300-year history of this city, and it far outweighs the day-to-day capacity of our city workforce,” said Mayor A.J. Holloway, who noted that the city averaged $16 million a year on major improvement projects before Hurricane Katrina. “In order to facilitate this work in an orderly and accountable fashion, we’re going to enlist a team of engineers who will guide this project through the design, contracting, construction and FEMA close-out phases.”

The city expects interest from project management firms from across the nation, Holloway said.

FEMA notified the city last month that it had obligated $355 million for the work. The city has divided the storm surge areas into 14 grids with work expected to be done in phases. The cost of services provided by the project-management firm are FEMA-reimbursable.

Although the improvements are expected to take several years to complete, the city is following an aggressive timeline in hiring the project management team.

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To see the Request for Qualifications for the infrastructure project — including clarifications and a Q&A — click here.