Major portion of new Caillavet to wrap up by Thanksgiving

A major section of a new, four-lane Caillavet Street — the section from Percy Street to the CSX railway — is on track to open by Thanksgiving, and the entire project could be completed in the first quarter of next year, as many as seven months ahead of schedule.

Mayor A.J. Holloway made the announcement earlier today, noting that the pre-Katrina $9 million project will help move traffic, spur growth and create jobs in east Biloxi.

The Caillavet Street revitalization work, part of the city’s east Biloxi traffic improvement initiative, includes the construction of a new four-lane boulevard in place of Caillavet Street between the CSX Railway and Bayview Avenue. The roadway, which will include a tree-lined center median, will be part of an east Biloxi traffic loop that also employs Oak Street, Back Bay Boulevard and U.S. 90 to help move traffic more efficiently.

“This project is important because it’s helping in our long-term recovery from Hurricane Katrina,” Holloway said. “Providing vital infrastructure moves more than traffic. It moves the economy. It creates jobs. It creates opportunity, and it helps keep city property taxes low.”

Construction on the new roadway – at a pre-Katrina cost of more than $9 million — had begun in November 2004 with a contracted completion in June 2006. However, the city was on track to complete the project in January 2006, six months ahead of schedule.

Holloway froze work on Caillavet and dozens of other city projects in the aftermath of Katrina, but work on the project resumed in June. More than three-dozen construction workers representing six contractors were laying asphalt and installing curbs and gutters this week.

Workers spent two-and-a-half months restoring the project to its pre-Katrina condition.

“We didn’t find too many surprises,” Holloway said, noting that the project is being driven by the city’s innovative construction management program, which helped complete work on a new Back Bay Boulevard and a widened Popp’s Ferry Road ahead of schedule.

“When all is completed on Caillavet Street, we’ll have the four-lane boulevard as the centerpiece, but the real story will be the 36 parcels of land and 7.3 acres we’re revitalizing on Caillavet’s east side,” Holloway said. “The eight-foot wide sidewalks and attractive landscaping will help this area be a success, too.

“This,” the mayor added, “is going to be a great project. It’s a project that will remind you of the great things we were doing before the storm, and it’s a strong sign of our recovery.”

More information and background online

—You can read background on the Caillavet project and see artist’s renderings of the new roadway from a page in the State of the City report mailed to Biloxi residents in February 2005. To read it, click here.

—To see the lineup of the city’s capital projects, as reported in the August 2006 mailout “State of the City: One Year Later,” click here.