City seeks to get water-logged infrastructure work back on track

The city’s infrastructure work has been impacted significantly by this week’s rainfall, according to Acting Mayor Robert Deming, and the city’s Public Works Department has had to focus its attention on making sure ditches and catch basins were clear of debris and able to handle as much rainwater as possible.

More than 9½ inches of rain has fallen in Biloxi since Sunday, with flood warnings and watches in effect for nearby rivers, and more rain expected through Saturday evening, when a cold front is expected to move into the area.

“The contractors say that every two days of rainfall causes five days of clean up, and unfortunately, we’ll probably still have more rain by the weekend,” Deming said. “With the massive volume of rainfall we’ve already seen, and the tremendous amount of work we have underway in Biloxi, particularly in east Biloxi, that’s a lot of cleanup.”

In the Public Works Department, laborers were originally scheduled this week to be removing barricades from the medians of U.S. 90, where they were staged to handle spring break events. “Instead, we’ve been focusing on making sure we don’t have re-occurring flooding in low-lying areas of the city,” Deming said. “Our people are making sure the ditches and drainage pipes are flowing freely.”

The work has also delayed striping of Howard and Veterans avenues, where the city is creating the first designated bike paths on a Biloxi municipal street.

In east Biloxi, contactors are scheduled to begin paving on Eighth Street next week and begin moving westward.

“The rain, for the moment, is behind us,” Deming said this morning, “so our Public Works people and our contractors will be able to get back to their routines.

“What we’re asking the public to do is please remember that virtually all of roadways in east Biloxi are a construction zone for the next 36 months. Please be careful, take your time, and if you see standing water on a street, by all means, take another route.”
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News and notes

On the Point: Former Biloxi Mayor Gerald Blessey, whose Biloxi Waterfront Master Plan led to dockside gaming and today’s gaming industry, will moderate a panel discussion, “The Future of East Biloxi and Point Cadet,” this evening at the Croatian-American Cultural Society, aka the Slavonian Lodge. The free program, which begins at 7, is part of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art’s “Katrina +10” retrospective. For details, click here.

Election Day: The City Council meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday, April 28 will be postponed until Thursday, April 30, since the special mayoral election is occurring on April 28.

Our changing coastline: Jamie Miller, director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, will be the speaker for the Hancock Bank Katrina Café Friday at noon at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. Miller will discuss our coastline: what it was like before Katrina, what happened, what it’s like now, and the trends and challenges we’re seeing. Lunch is only $10, but reservations must be made by Thursday at 5 p.m. Call (228) 374-5547 or reserve online by clicking here.