Hurricane Recovery: Gulfport

While Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage to the port infrastructure in Gulfport, Mississippi, the Mississippi State Port Authority has made significant progress toward recovery to date, according to a recently released report. Published jointly by Gov. Phil Bryant’s office, the Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport and the Mississippi Development Authority, the report outlines progress made on five key objectives: create required new jobs, deepen the port channel, maintain current tenants, increase the port’s capacity and foster commercial development. 

Final design and construction is well underway, and more than $237 million in design, engineering and construction contracts have been issued in relation to the restoration project. The port has completed the filling of 84 acres in the Mississippi Sound and is currently developing 50 acres on the West Pier that will provide additional available space for new tenants to use. As part of the project, at least 330,000 cubic yards of unsuitable materials have been dredged from the Mississippi Sound and, through coordination with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, have been used to help reconstruct Deer Island and nourish the island’s marshes.

In 2007, Gov. Haley Barbour directed state officials to submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that would provide for the restoration of the port’s public infrastructure and publicly owned facilities that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. This plan initiated years of design work and environmental and regulatory review and approval, and in May 2011 HUD finally released the full allocation of funding for this project, thus allowing the state to begin the Port of Gulfport Restoration Project in earnest.

The second phase of the port’s construction bid documents will be finalized over the next several months and will be available for bid in early 2014. Once these contracts are bid, construction activity at the port will dramatically increase, and the majority of the project’s construction phase will be completely underway in 2014.