Significant portion of Bayview set to open Saturday

A section of the new Bayview Avenue is scheduled to open Saturday, and visitors to an annual outdoor concert at the Old Brick House will be among the first to see the new boulevard.

Construction workers this week have been busily pouring curbing and laying asphalt on the stretch of new roadway between Braun Street to Lee Street. Workers have also had to fight overcast skies, intermittent showers and traffic in order to meet a March 15 date that Mayor A.J. Holloway promised in his State of the City address in January.

“Weather permitting, we fully expect the construction management team to bring this job in by Saturday,” Holloway said Thursday. “We’ve had rain this week, and it’s hard to lay asphalt or pour concrete in the rain, but if you think about it, we’ve overcome a hurricane and three tropical storms and this project is still on track.”

The overall Bayview project covers almost 1.5 miles – connecting Back Bay with Oak Street – and includes three bridges. Cost of the overall project is $6.5 million and the overall completion is expected in May, in line with the 365-day contract for the project.

The new Bayview transitions from a two-lane to five-lane boulevard and was designed to move traffic efficiently and safely, as well as spur economic development along its route. The new route also avoids the 90-degree turns motorists were forced to endure on the old, poorly lit and low-lying Bayview.

The new roadway changes the route to access some waterfront properties, which visitors to the Twilight Time concert will find Saturday afternoon. The Biloxi Council of Garden Clubs and the Miramar Garden Club will host the annual outdoor concert from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on the lawn of the Old Brick House. The concert wraps up the annual Gulf Coast Pilgrimage each year.

The Old Brick House is now accessible by Lee Street and the old Bayview. The route to the Old Brick House will be clearly marked Saturday with temporary signs.

“This new access is going take just a few seconds for motorists, and we’re going to see a number of benefits,” Holloway said. “We’ve made the roadway safer because its wider and straighter. We created more green space around the Old Brick House, and, finally, we’ve moved heavy traffic away from the doorstep of a building that’s almost 200 years old.”

The new Bayview Avenue represents the first of three multi-million-dollar road projects to be overseen by the mayor’s construction management program. Under the program, a construction manager provides the city better oversight and accountability over road construction projects. Construction management is also being employed on the widening of Popp’s Ferry Road and construction of a new Caillavet Street.

Said Holloway: “The work we are seeing on Bayview is a clear indication that construction management is indeed keeping projects on schedule, and I think we’ll see the same results with our work on Popp’s Ferry and Caillavet. The object is to get these projects completed so we can move traffic efficiently and safely.”