Nearly two months after Katrina unleashed her fury on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the first of many rebuilding efforts are well under way.
In October, state officials commemorated the re-opening of all lanes of both I-10 and I-110, two major corridors that were repaired approximately one month after the storm. Now all efforts are directed toward the rebuilding of Highway 90 in order to return it to full operation.
Contractors first began to remove debris from the roadway and from storm drains, tackling a variety of problems along the way. Due to overflowing sewage lines from the coastal cities and the build up of household items that were washed away during the hurricane, cleaning the inlets and pipes along Highway 90 has become the most time consuming task of all.
As pipe cleaning operations end, crews have now begun replacing damaged pipe and rebuilding parts of the highway that have been washed away. At this point, contractors have repaired the two eastbound lanes of Highway 90 from Highway 49 to the Biloxi Bay and repairs to the eastbound lanes between Henderson Point to Highway 49 are nearing completion as well. The westbound lanes of Highway 90 still have failed sections of pavement due to the undermining of the roadway by storm surge and repair projects have recently been let to contract and are scheduled to be complete by Dec. 17.
The following emergency repair contracts have been let for Highway 90:
• Repair of westbound lanes between Highway 49 and I-110 — let to Mallette Brothers of Gautier, MS, for $5 million;
• Repair of westbound lanes from Henderson Point to Menge Avenue — let to Huey Stockstill of Picayune, MS, for $2.6 million;
• Repair of westbound lanes from Menge Avenue to Highway 49 — let to Warren Paving of Hattiesburg, MS, for $3.7 million.
The following emergency repair projects will be let in the near future:
• Repair of the Highway 90 railroad overpass at Henderson Point;
• Installation of temporary traffic signals along Highway 90.
Plans are in development for permanent repairs to Highway 90 with upgraded features including a modern traffic signal system, curbs, sidewalks, replanted oak trees and other beautification efforts. MDOT will resurface the repaired Highway 90 from Pass Christian to Biloxi as a four-lane highway. MDOT will not be widening the highway or adding additional lanes and commits to preserving the scenic beachfront highway.