Experience paying off on infrastructure work

Biloxi has completed about $20 million worth of the construction in its $355 million infrastructure work, and program manager Marvin G. Dalla Rosa says the lessons learned in that initial construction is paying off in the $153 million now under construction in areas along Back Bay and in east Biloxi.

Dalla Rosa presented a detailed progress report to the Biloxi City Council on Tuesday, the first report since the city embarked on the largest phase of the work, a $116 million, three-year contract that will impact nearly every street from I-110 to Point Cadet, north of the CSX railway.

“I think the biggest thing is that we’ve got a good process in place to help the City and their contractors execute these projects and move them to closeout,” Dalla Rosa said. “The issues that the contractors run into on a regular basis – such as encountering underground pipes where no one thought they were, having to work in tight quarters between houses and having to trench down 15 and 20 feet on narrow streets while trying to keep those streets open to homeowners – are nothing new.

“Responsive flexibility is something that we have always had to have on this Infrastructure Program.  It’s now magnified because we’re on a project phase that is 10 times larger than what the City has done so far. The key is to keep the overall Program and its phases moving forward while addressing the needs of the City and its citizens.”

The east Biloxi work, the largest single municipal undertaking in the history of the city, will see contractor Oscar Renda working simultaneously from Forest Avenue outward and from Oak Street westward.

“You have to remember that this is a three-year contract, but the contractor will not have every street in east Biloxi torn up at the same time,” Dalla Rosa said. “With the contractor starting at two ends of the project area, it’s sort of like dropping a pebble at the Keegan’s Bayou treatment plant, and another one at the Sixth Street pump station off Oak Street. It ripples out and those ripples meet in the middle.

“Work is underway in both areas but the two points may not meet in the middle right away. For instance, the contractor may not be on Division Street for several months – depending on the sequence of work he has planned – and it should also be noted that as the contractor ramps up his production he will activate additional crews.”

Dalla Rosa said work in the Kensington Drive area – a project known as HOS, named for the former Back Bay hospital – is scheduled to be completed in early 2015.  Work in the Eagle Point area is scheduled to be completed in late summer of 2015 and the work in areas north of the Bay – known as NOB 2, 4, 5 and 6 – is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2015.
See photos, timelines and background


News and notes

Short-termers: The city’s Community Development Department has identified 160 homes that are being used for short-term rentals and has begun code enforcement action against 20 of them, according to a report delivered Tuesday to the Biloxi City Council. To read the report, click here.

Bucket list: A host of Biloxi City Councilmembers, a couple of county supervisors, Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney and others took part in an ice bucket challenge on the front steps of City Hall Tuesday afternoon. To see a video clip of the event, click here.

Meeting photos: To see photos from the City Council meeting Tuesday afternoon, click here.