Coming Up Downtown: Howard Avenue, Brick by Brick

From:  City of Biloxi   9/24/18   GCN

 

Cruisers at the annual Downtown Biloxi Cruisin’ the Coast Block Party this year are going to be able to see the beginnings of what Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich likens to a parquet dance floor – the new brick-surfaced Howard Avenue.

The roadway between Lameuse and Reynoir streets, the heart of the downtown street restoration, is expected to be completed by the end of October. In fact, workers were expected to be setting the bricks

 

“The project is really beginning to become visibly appealing,” said Andy Phelan of Pickering Firm, who designed the streetscape from 1950s-era photos Gilich provided.

 “The majority of curb and sidewalk are complete and a large portion of the road base has been set to final grade and compacted. Areas of concrete angled parking are complete, and a large portion of the new light poles are standing up on site.”

 

The bricks will have a herringbone pattern for the majority of the road with a double “string course,” or straight longitudinal brick runs, along the gutters and concrete aprons, Phelan said. Gilich was also able to locate a host of the original bricks, known as “Athens Blocks,” to use in the project, and workers unearthed others, along with abandoned utility lines, during construction.

 

 Said Phelan: “The bricks are longer than pavers produced today, so we can’t reuse them within the main herringbone pattern; however, with a matching width, we will reuse them in portions of the string course abutting concrete. In particular, we aim to have a full string course of ‘Athens Block’ along both the Lameuse and Reynoir intersections to serve almost as a leap from past to present Howard Avenue.”

 

As part of the downtown project, contractor Gulf Breeze also will be creating a new fourway Stop intersection at Howard and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard so that traffic from Point Cadet can easily travel to downtown, instead of being diverted to MLK and north of the downtown area.