City completes lighting of ‘holy land’

The city’s project to light the 8.4-mile stretch of Beach Boulevard in Biloxi reached a milestone this week, with the energizing of newly erected street lights between White and St. George avenues

The section of roadway, which is just under a mile and was once lined by a collection of beachfront homes, had only minimal, ornamental lighting on its northside before Hurricane Katrina. Some refer to this section of U.S. 90 as “the holy land” because it connects with a group of streets named for saints.

“This is the first time that the holy land section of Highway 90 has ever been lit to industry safety standards,” Mayor A.J. Holloway said. “We’re also going to look to restore the ornamental lighting that was pretty much destroyed by the hurricane.”

The White-to-St. George lighting – which cost the city more than $400,000 — included the installation of 43 40-foot fiberglass breakaway poles in the center median, all topped with 400-watt cobra-head fixtures, the same style fixtures used along Beach Boulevard before the storm.

The installation of street lights on another section of Beach Boulevard, the two-mile stretch between Beauvoir Road and Rodenberg Avenue, is expected to be completed within a month. The city is using $569,000 in federal funds for the project, which over the past several weeks has involved the installation of 76 break-away poles.

Design work for repairs to storm-damaged lighting on Casino Row – the half-mile between Oak and Myrtle streets – is now underway, with last week’s authorization from MDOT and the Federal Highway Administration. The authorization also includes the OK for repairs to lighting on Bayview Avenue, Back Bay Boulevard and under the I-110 in Biloxi.

Nearly 180 of the 250 or so pre-Katrina street lights on U.S. 90 in Biloxi were restored in December 2005, when the four-lane boulevard was fully re-opened to traffic.