Harrison County tackles problem of blowing sand - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Harrison County tackles problem of blowing sand

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Harrison County is looking at ways to keep 26 miles of sand on the beach, where it belongs.

For many years, tons of sand have blown onto nearby Highway 90, creating a driving hazard and costly clean-up. The county has been working with the Army Corps of Engineers in an effort to halt or at least reduce the blowing sand problem.

Next month, supervisors will hear a report from the Corps about some potential solutions.

"The board has been actively involved with this for over a year, trying to come up with something to eliminate that problem on the beach," said Supervisor Marlin Ladner.

The Army Corps of Engineers has been working with the county and next month will present recommendations for keeping the sand on the beach. Part of that plan will include a demonstration plot.

"We're going to do a trial area, hopefully in the near future, of lowering the template of the beach to a certain level to try and take care of the problem of the sand blowing onto the roadway," said Sand Beach Director Chuck Loftis, "We have to be sure not to damage the seawall in any way with removing too much sand. So, that's what the Corps is coming in and telling us, how low we can put the template of the beach."

Blowing sand is more than a driving safety issue, it also requires costly clean-ups.

"It's been costing M-DOT over a million dollars and I think it's costing Harrison County over $250 or 300 thousand a year to work on that sand on that highway," said Supervisor Ladner.

Adding dunes and vegetation will also be part of the long term solution.

"It took us 20 years to get those dunes up and running on the beach and Katrina took it out. And it's just going to take time. I hope it doesn't take another 20 years," said Supervisor Connie Rockco.

Along with the Army Corps of Engineers, Harrison County supervisors have also reached out to Mississippi State University for help and suggestions on how best to control that wind-blown sand.

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