Infrastructure program to hit milestone next week

Biloxi’s massive infrastructure undertaking – the $355 million federally-funded initiative to replace underground utilities in the areas hardest hit by Katrina – will reach a milestone next week when bids are opened for what is expected to be the largest phase of the project: the area of east Biloxi north of the CSX railway.

HNTB, the firm that is overseeing the citywide work, expects bids for the three-year phase to be about $120 million. The impacted area will stretch from I-110 to Point Cadet.

Marvin G. Dalla Rosa, the HNTB executive in charge of the project, said the east Biloxi work “will be more of the same thing we’re doing in other areas of the city, except there will be so much more of it. This is going to be the largest public works contract in the history of Biloxi.”

Division Street, the five-lane east-west thoroughfare that runs through the heart of the project, will present its own share of challenges, Dalla Rosa said. “It’s a wide, busy street with all kinds of utilities under it. For instance running right down the middle of it is a force main that runs from Sixth Street on Point Cadet all way to the wastewater treatment plant at Keegan’s Bayou.”

In other cases, contractors will have to deal with narrow streets and limited access, while working to keep streets open for residents, businesses, school buses, garbage trucks and emergency vehicles.

“The other factor to remember,” Dalla Rosa added, “is that we’re going to replacing infrastructure that was built in the ’50s and ’60s. We’re looking at 50- and 60-year-old pieces of pipe that will all be replaced, and we’re positive that through the years changes have been made to what the plans show.”
Hear more about the work on this week’s City Desk webcast
Learn more about the Restore Biloxi infrastructure program
See a postcard going out next week to Back Bay residents


City Easter egg hunts kick off Saturday
Dozens of families are expected to gather at Hiller Park on Saturday for the citywide Easter Egg Hunt, the first of three weekends of city-sponsored egg hunts. A second is planned in Woolmarket next weekend, and a third is planned on the Town Green for special needs residents.

The Hiller and Woolmarket events are open to children up to age 11, and an Easter carnival will be staged, with inflatables, games, and the Easter Bunny on hand for those with cameras.

The Hiller Park affair runs from 2 to 4 p.m., with egg gathering beginning at 3 p.m. on the Hiller Park softball fields.

The Woolmarket event, planned for April 12 at the Woolmarket school grounds, also will begin at 2 p.m.

The special needs event on the Town Green, which takes place April 19, is open to all ages with mental or physical challenges. It runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the Easter egg hunt beginning at 11 a..m.

Incidentally, mark your calendars for May 9-11, when Hiller Park will host the Hiller Park Carnival, with a host of Mother’s Day-related events, food, carnival rides and other family fare, all designed to help raise money to fund improvements to the park.
See more about the Easter egg hunts
See more about the special needs Easter egg hunt
See more about the Hiller Park Carnival


Development report: Baseball, another Waffle House, and more
This week’s Development report includes an update on site work at the downtown baseball stadium, construction is underway on the city’s fifth Waffle House, and other ongoing development.
Read the full report


News and notes

Weekend preview: For a look at this weekend’s events of note, as compiled by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, click here.

DRC agenda: The Development Review Committee, which did not meet last week, has an agenda of five cases next week. They include a street vacation, salvage and laydown yards, and a Main Street nightclub. To see the agenda, click here.

Council meeting: The next scheduled meeting of the Biloxi City Council will be Tuesday, April 15 at 1:30 p.m. You can find a lineup of the city’s public meetings and agendas on the city web site Public Meetings page. To go there, click here.