City updates major road projects, waterfront improvements

A quick update on a trio of city projects, from Chief Administrative Officer David Nichols:

New Popp’s Ferry Bridge and approaches: This project, which would involve the 2.6-mile area from Pass Road to Riverview Drive, is being planned by the city and will use federal, state and local funds. Survey work and soil borings are currently taking place, with the project being six months into a 3½-year process. Construction on this project, which would require $70 million in funding, is still several years away. The overall engineering contract, which includes survey, soil borings, design, permitting, right-of-way surveying, and public hearings is 3½ years, and we’re about six months into it. Right now survey and soil boring activities are taking place, and they should be completed in August. The project will be a minimum of four lanes (five lanes where appropriate) for the road and bridge. The alignment of the project is generally along the existing Popp’s Ferry Road alignment, with the primary exception being that the new bridge (causeway) will be east of the current one. A preliminary plan has been established for the project, however the final plan of actual right-of-way including homes to be acquired cannot be completed until the design is completed, likely two to three years from now.

Biloxi Waterfront Park:
The $4.2 million project is on schedule for its March 2014 completion date. The structural steel for 10,000 square foot pavilion was recently completed. The site utility work is in progress, as well as the concrete walk along the seawall. Within the next month, plaza paving will begin and the final metal roofing panels will be installed on the pavilion. Playground and splash pad equipment will follow later this summer.

Popp’s Ferry extension from Pass Road to U.S. 90: The federally mandated environmental process is nearly complete. In fact, a draft document identifying the impact of the roadway has been sent to MDOT and the Federal Highway Administration. After the draft document is reviewed by the state and federal authorities, a public hearing will held. The document will be completed by the end of the year. Then, survey and design work would begin. It is during this 2½ to three-year period that right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation would take place. Once those time-consuming issues are completed, the construction phase would begin. The city is using $6.5 million in federal funds, and is looking for additional funding to complete the project, which is expected to cost $12 to $15 million. It’s still a few years away from driving a new connector from Pass Road to U.S. 90.

An update on work at public piers and marinas, as reported by Port Division Manager Larry Sablich:

Biloxi commercial harbor, south of the Hard Rock parking garage: Re-opened to shrimping fleet last month. It has undergone a major overhaul, with new finger piers, pilings, and utilities. A total of 55 slips were available at re-opening, and all slips are expected to be occupied by the end of July.

Small craft harbor bait shop and fuel dock: Construction expected to be complete by September.

Sherman Canaan fishing dock, Back Bay: Overhaul of piers complete. Two facilities at the site – the harbormaster’s office and public restrooms – are under construction and expected to be completed by the end of November.

Lighthouse pier, south of Biloxi Lighthouse: Repairs to end of the pier expected to be complete by end of summer. Pier is open, but end of pier is closed.

Coliseum pier, south of Coliseum. Repairs to end of pier expected to be completed in several weeks.

Forrest Avenue boat ramp, Back Bay: Ramp is open; repairs to finger piers expected to be completed in several weeks.

For more information on the city’s harbors, marinas, piers and boat ramps, visit
click here.