Mayor to propose Cedar Lake Bridge repairs
Mayor A.J. Holloway will ask the Biloxi City Council on Tuesday to approve $684,000 for two contracts to begin work to repair the Cedar Lake Bridge, which 13 months ago was closed to heavy vehicles.
In a resolution on the agenda for the council’s 1:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday at City Hall, Holloway is proposing to award a $365,000 contract to Complete Engineering and Construction Inc. to make needed structural improvements to the bridge, and a $319,000 contract to Industrial Corrosion Control to sandblast and paint the bridge.
Work on the bridge, which on an average day carries about 4,800 cars north of I-10 across the Tchoutacabouffa River, could begin in several weeks and would take several months.
“We’re going to do everything that we can to get this work done as quickly as possible,” Holloway said, “and we’re going to do as much as possible to keep traffic moving during the work.”
At some point of the work, the mayor noted, the bridge would have to be temporarily closed to all vehicular traffic, but the city planned to provide adequate advance notice and updates through the daily online Traffic Update and through signage near the site.
Automobiles and pickup trucks can continue to use the bridge for now; however, 18-wheelers and other trucks must continue to detour around the bridge, using the Cedar Lake exit off I-10 to access areas south of the bridge, or Old Highway 67 to access areas north of the bridge. Notices were being posted today near the bridge.
The bridge, which Harrison County transferred to the City of Biloxi on Jan. 1, was inaccessible to vehicular traffic after the torrential downpours March 30, when floodwaters covered portions of Cedar Lake Road north and south of the bridge.
Fire Department aims to replace city’s first aerial platform
Fire Chief David Roberts is recommending to Mayor A.J. Holloway and the City Council that the city approve a $900,000 bid for the purchase a new fire truck armed with an aerial firefighting platform to replace the city’s 22-year-old aerial platform truck, which is housed at the fire department’s “central station” in the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center.
The vehicle, which would be constructed and delivered by Sunbelt Fire, is one of two firefighting vehicles the council is being asked to purchase during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The other is a bid of nearly $370,000 for the construction and delivery of a new fire pumper that would be in service at Station 5 at Bay Vista on Pass Road.
Elsewhere on the improvement front on Tuesday’s council agenda are measures that would approve more than $100,000 in repairs at the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor and the reconstruction of the public pier on Back Bay at the north end of Porter Avenue.
Contractor J.E. Borries would be awarded a $59,999 contract to rebuild the Back Bay pier and a $44,000 contract for repairs at the small craft harbor.
To see the complete agenda, nearly two dozen measures in all, click here.
Services scheduled for Ray Washer
The Biloxi Police Department on Thursday announced the death of Ray Washer, who was a member of the department for 32 years before his retirement in 2003.
Washer, who in the later years of his BPD career coordinated the staffing of school crossing guard sites throughout the city, died Thursday morning in Wisconsin, his wife’s home state.
A visitation will be Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bradford-O’Keefe’s Howard Avenue Chapel, followed by a graveside service, complete with Biloxi Police Honor Guard and a 21-gun salute, at Floral Hills, off Lorraine Road in Gulfport.
Coliseum hosts crawdad fest this weekend
The Coliseum’s Country Cajun Crawfish Festival (or is that the Coliseum’s Cajun Country Crawfish Festival?) fills the grounds of the west beach venue throughout the weekend. You’ll find tons of crawfish, hours of live entertainment and dozens of carnival rides.
To read more and see the entertainment lineup for the weekend, click here.
More big events around the corner
The popularity of the antiques and collectibles fair each October at Tullis-Toledano Manor – more than 5,000 have attended the event each of the last two years -- has led the Friends of Tullis and other sponsors to build on the success.
Next weekend – April 22-24 – Tullis, the city’s beachfront home just each of Casino Row, will host what organizers hope will become an annual “Spring Show” Antiques and Collectibles Fair.
More than 60 vendors have signed up to show wares on the oak-filled Tullis grounds. To read more about the event, click here.
You’ll also be seeing parades of boats along the Biloxi shoreline over the next few weekends. The annual Smokin’ the Sound offshore racing series comes to Biloxi April 20-24, and the public will see what organizers hope will be a bigger-and-better Biloxi Shrimp Festival and Blessing of the Fleet the weekend of April 29.
To read about this year’s Smokin’ the Sound plans, click here.
To find out why organizers are hoping to count more blessings this year, click here
Camp moms and dads happier with registration process – so far
Parks and Recreation Department staffer Tina Cowart says city staffers conducting summer camp registration this week are seeing “more compliments than distress” as a result of new steps introduced this year to simplify the process of signing up as many as 700 campers for the nine summer camp sites throughout the city.
As a result of offering pre-registration to veteran campers, this year’s process has reduced the long lines of parents who in the past began lining up hours before registration at city facilities.
Rec Superintendent Sherry Bell reports that the North Bay Elementary School site is now full, but spaces remain at the Popp’s Ferry, Lopez, Beauvoir and Jeff Davis sites.
“We’re pleased with the way things have gone so far, but we still have more registering to do,” Bell said. “The mayor asked that we try to devise a method of simplifying the registration process, and we think the pre-registration and the nighttime registration hours have both worked well for parents. We all need to remember why the registration process is such a hectic time: It’s because this program is very popular. We’re very proud of its success.”
To read more about the summer camp program and review the registration schedule, click here.
News and notes
Volunteer awards: Mayor A.J. Holloway will join the Biloxi City Council and the city’s Community Development Department next week in honoring Biloxi individuals, businesses and civic groups whom Holloway describes as a “select group that collectively makes Biloxi the great city that it is.” The city’s Volunteer Recognition Awards Ceremony - -which usually has hundreds of volunteers – will be Wednesday, April 20, at 5:30 p.m. at the Biloxi Community Center on Howard Avenue To read more about the event, click here.
A ‘flood’ of information: All Biloxians will soon be receiving a friendly reminder from the city that hurricane season begins June 1, and residents should have fresh memories of the risks of flooding, thanks to the torrential downpours at the outset of this month. As part of its mandate to educate residents about steps they can take to minimize the financial and property damage exposure inherent with living on or near the water, the postcard also reminds residents of the 30-day waiting period that must pass before flood insurance takes effect. To see a draft of the postcard, click here.
Caillavet update: Construction workers have been using heavy equipment to remove huge blocks of concrete -- weighing tons and some at depths as deep as 15 feet or more. And all this week – and for several more days – it’s all been going on at one of the busiest intersections on Caillavet Street – at Division Street. The intersection -- which sees an average of 9,100 vehicles on an average day, according to Gulf Regional Planning Commission’s most recent traffic counts – is just as busy underground, too. Major utility corridors intersect belowground at Division and Caillavet, and workers are trying to avoid disrupting any traffic – above or below ground – as they proceed with the Caillavet Street roadwork. Fresh aerials of the construction work will be posted in the city’s online Photo Gallery next week.
Sports complex: Visitors to the Little League fields at the Biloxi Sports Complex will notice that new support backs have been installed on the bleachers at the fields. Contractors says material has arrived for the covered bleachers and installation should begin shortly. Incidentally, more than 100 games have been played in the 11 days since the five Little League fields were dedicated.
Downtown walking tour: Work is underway to update the most-requested brochure of all the brochures at the Biloxi Visitors Center – the “Historic Heart of Biloxi Walking Tour.” Plans are to add a brief history and photograph of the restored BancorpSouth building to the 20 Vieux Marche sites featured in the brochure. Visitors Center staffers report that anywhere from 50 to 70 people request the brochure each day. To see an online version of the current brochure, which is among the many items in the Publications section of the city web site, click here.