Motorists Urged to Use Caution Near U.S. 90 Road Repairs
by Keith Burton - GCN 11/13/07
Highway contractors with Lane Construction Company of Ocean Springs appear to be moving swiftly in restoring U.S. 90 in Biloxi. Work on the busy beach highway began earlier this month with the first phase to run from the new Biloxi Bay Bridge to Rodenberg Avenue. The entire 26 mile highway from Biloxi to the Bay St. Louis bridge is to be restored from damages from Katrina in a project to end in December 2008.
Motorists on U.S. 90 in east Biloxi are reminded to use caution as MDOT crews continue on the first phases of a $92 million project that will see new asphalt, traffic signals, curbing and sidewalks installed .
In east Biloxi, intermittent lane closures are required between Myrtle and Main streets as the highway is being milled and overlayed, and new signals, curbs and sidewalks are being installed.The five mile project to rebuild roadway and install signals from Rodenberg Avenue to Biloxi Bay was awarded to Lane Construction Company of Ocean Springs for $19.8 million. An eleven mile stretch from Bayview Avenue to Louis Avenue in the Henderson Point community was awarded to Warren Paving Company of Hattiesburg and Gulfport for $28.8 million.
MDOT officials say the work to rebuild the highway and install signals was combined to enhance efficiency during the construction process.
U.S. 90 was badly damaged by hurricane Katrina's storm surge in 2005. Temporary repairs were made to Highway 90 after the hurricane, which included clearing debris, patching pavement, and installing fixed time signals, so that the roadway could be opened to traffic as soon as possible, but the road has been a bumpy ride since the storm. The reconstruction projects will provide for permanent repairs, such as road resurfacing, the installation of state of the art traffic systems with mast arm signal poles, the replacement of curbs, and repairs to the drainage systems and sidewalks.
Many businesses and residents wonder why MDOT's work on the highway was not begun earlier to tie-in with the opening and completion of the new Biloxi Bay and Bay St. Louis Bridges. The new Biloxi Bridge opened two lanes Nov. 1 with the full completion set for April 2008. The Bay St. Louis bridge is set to be completed near the end of this year. That bridge was to be finished this month, but a change in the bridge lighting created a two month delay.
Still, if work moves as quickly as indicated in these early days, some of the most congested areas should be soon completed near the Biloxi bridge and the busy casinos fairly soon in the project. MDOT is notorious for moving slowly on its road projects, but the agency is known to be under pressure from the federal government to move as fast as possible on work in the Katrina disaster areas on the Coast.