Where we are, eight days after Zeta

Teams of debris crews were throughout the city today, in neighborhoods using debris trailers with small cranes atop, or using old-fashioned elbow grease and rakes in city parks and other facilities.

Removing fallen limbs and piles of unbagged leaves is now a focus for the city, along with wrapping up repairs on traffic signals, and beginning the process of repairing any damage to city buildings, while trying to rebuild, with FEMA approval, waterfront piers in a manner that will withstand future storms.

“I think we are right about where you would expect us to be, eight days after a Category 2 storm hit our city,” said Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich. “People can see the obvious progress: the debris crews out in the neighborhoods, but there’s a lot of not-so-obvious and important work going on as well. My goal here is to make sure we get this cleaned up, cleaned up quickly and thoroughly, and that we do what we need to do to make our community even more resilient, especially along our waterfront.”

“The secret to making sure this debris moves out quickly is to make sure our residents move it out to the curb,” Gilich said. “The people of Biloxi have been doing a good job on that and we appreciate it.”

Jonathan Kiser, who oversaw the city’s Katrina debris removal, says Zeta left about 200,000 cubic yards of debris in Biloxi.

“We had five teams out there today, and we’ll be ramped up to 10 or 12,” Kiser said. “In this first day, those five teams were able to pick up 2,500 cubic yards of debris. That number is going to accelerate.”

Each team – a driver and an operator – is using high-capacity, self-loading vehicles to sweep through neighborhoods. The city’s aim was to begin at eight locations across the city this morning. Crews began working at daybreak and will continue working from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week.

An issue with debris: Resident should not bag leaves. If you’ve already bagged, it’s OK, but no more as you move forward. Also, don’t mix debris with household garbage, electronics, or household hazardous waste. The debris contractors will not be able to pick it up; and do not place debris near power poles, guy wires, fire hydrants, mailboxes or gas meters.
See a debris hauler in action
Video: See the A to Z report from Tuesday

Traffic signals: Use caution

Nearly all of the signals at the city’s 64 signalized intersections are back in operation, but repairs for about 10 percent remain in the works for a few key intersections, such as Veterans Avenue on Pass Road.

“We’re asking people to please drive especially careful at intersections,” said Chief Administrative Officer Mike Leonard. “Twenty-four of the signalized intersections in Biloxi are on U.S. 90, and we appreciate the work MDOT has done there.

“We still have a few more to go on city streets,” Leonard said, “but our crews are working as quickly as they can. We know this is a public safety issue and a frustration for motorists.”

Use caution and patience when driving through areas where signals are flashing or not operating.
See signal repairs at Popp’s and Pass
See signal repairs at Rodenberg and 90

Contractor removing submerged debris

A contractor has begun removing debris from the three city waterfront facilities. Works begins at Point Cadet Marina, then proceeds to the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, and, finally, the commercial docks south of the Hard Rock Hotel parking garage.

The contractor is responsible for submerged debris as well as debris onland near the harbors and marinas.

The Commercial Docking Facility, located behind the Hard Rock, is the only city harbor that remains closed. Tenants are allowed to conditionally return to the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor and Sherman Canaan Back Bay Fishing Docks, which have power, and to Point Cadet Marina, which does not have power.

Tenants must sign a hold-harmless agreement because of the debris still in the harbor and surrounding waters.

— Porter Avenue North Pier and the Old Biloxi/Ocean Springs Fishing Bridge are the only piers currently open.

— The Kuhn Street and Lee Street Boat launches are the only boat ramps currently open.

The update on city parks

Miramar Park, off U.S. 90, is closed. The playground and walking track at Hiller Park are closed; the kayak launch, one pavilion pier, and a portion of Popp’s Ferry Causeway is closed and the boardwalk at the Lighthouse Park is closed. All other parks are open but some still have limbs and debris that are being cleared.
See images from Popp’s Ferry Causeway Park
See a Parks & Rec crew on the clean-up detail
See images from the Pennzoil-McManus Park cleanup
Video: The Pennzoil cleanup

Fire Chief: Burn ban continues

A burn ban continues in Biloxi, where, by the way a State of Emergency continues to exist. Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney says the burn ban will run through at least the end of the week as it is too unsafe right now to burn with all of the debris that we have on streets and in neighborhoods.

News & notes: Council meeting, debris newsletter, Facebook

Council: The Biloxi City Council held its first meeting of the month on Wednesday night at Biloxi City Hall.  To see the 80-minute replay on YouTube, click here.

BNews Special Edition: The U.S. Postal Service today began delivering a special edition of the city’s newsletter to homes and businesses across the city. The topic: What you need to know about the city’s storm debris plan. To see high-resolution online version of newsletter, click here.

Facebook: Follow the city’s primary Facebook platform for recovery info, photos and more. To visit now, click here.