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City chooses contractor to restore Coast lighthouse

PASCAGOULA — The city of Pascagoula has approved a $636,000 contract with Biloxi’s J.O. Collins Contractor Inc. for the final construction and restoration of the Round Island Lighthouse.

The Mississippi Press reports local officials expect the circa-1850s, 45-foot tall lighthouse should be back near the base of the U.S. 90 high-rise bridge by Thanksgiving 2013.

Work will include cleaning, repairing and reassembling the antique bricks now piled under the U.S. 90 bridge, plus installation of the lantern gallery — the 6,000-pound, cast-iron top of the lighthouse — as well as doors and windows.

The city expects work to start in December.

The original lighthouse was solid brick inside and out, but the rebuilt one will have a steel layer sandwiched between the brick. Once finished, it will be open to the public.

The lighthouse operated for years on Round Island off the coast of Pascagoula before being decommissioned, spending the past decade battered and ultimately toppled by hurricanes.

It was transported from the island to the southeast base of the high-rise in fall 2000. Grant money as well as donations has fueled the $1 million project, part of a new historic pathway.

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