Dredging from Pass Harbor to land on Hancock beaches

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - A unique partnership between Hancock County and Pass Christian will help turn Hancock County's storm tattered beaches into places of pristine beauty. Visitors from out of town soaking up the rays on Hancock County's beach-front don't seem notice the flaws.

"I like this beach because it's clean. It's got beautiful sand, and it's very peaceful," said Alabama Tourist Teresa Mueller.

County leaders say they agree the beaches are clean and peaceful, but they need more sand.

"We're missing probably upwards of half our beach right now. We've got areas along the road where the beach is only 20 or 30 foot wide, and it's supposed to be upward of 200 feet," said Hancock County Engineer Jeff Clemens.

Clemens said it's the wind, rain and tidal surges that keep washing the sand away.

"It's a steady erosion of our beach."

300,000 cubic yards of sand will be dredged from a Harbor Marina project in Pass Christian and pumped about five miles to the beaches in Hancock County. The county will pay $1.2 million  for the material.

"That all appears to be a good quality sand that will be a good material to pump into the Hancock County Beaches. It's defiantly a win-win for both entities," Clemens explained. "Pass Christian is going to have upwards of 300,000 yards of materials that has to be dredged, and of course, finding a place to put that is always a challenge. It's a huge benefit to Hancock County to be able to receive it."

Construction crews are expected to begin pumping in the new sand beach later this year. Pass Christian leaders are expected to open bids for its harbor project tomorrow.

It should take about 40 days to award the contract. Hancock County's sand beach replenishment project won't start until the work in the Pass starts.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.