Harrison County working to reduce blowing sand - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Harrison County working to reduce blowing sand

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PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) -

It's a costly mess to clean-up and creates dangerous driving on Highway 90. That's why Harrison County is looking at ways to reduce the problem of blowing sand.

Supervisors gave the go-ahead Monday for a demonstration project that involves lowering the profile of sand on the beach.

The southerly Spring winds create the perennial problem. Tons of sand is blown each year off the beach and onto the highway.

"Since there's no storage south of the seawall. Since it's already got sand there, it ends up on the highway and the DOT ends up having to deal with it," said consulting engineer, Dax Alexander.

The demonstration project will lower the profile of sand on a mile long section of beach between Espy and Menge Avenues in Pass Christian.

A trough will also be created near the seawall to catch the blowing sand and prevent it from moving onto the highway.

"It cost M-DOT over a million dollars a year and it costs Harrison County roughly $250,000 to $300,000 to remove that sand from the bays," said supervisor, Marlin Ladner.

One key consideration in this project is the seawall.

The seawall protects Highway 90 and the beach was built to protect the seawall. So anything that may threaten the integrity of the seawall, could be troublesome.

The seawall sits on concrete pilings.  

"You get water into that, the water is going to go somewhere. And it's going to go back out to Mississippi Sound. And if it starts working on those pilings, then the entire seawall could fail," Dr. Susan Rees, with the Army Corps of Engineers told the board.

"If you do that, you're going to start getting settlement behind the seawall, which would mean Highway 90 could be jeopardized," said engineer Bill Mitchell.

The project will also involves the creation of new sand dunes to help reduce the wind blown sand.

The test site should be finished by March, just in time for those Spring winds to start blowing sand along the beach.

Engineers said the results of the "test site" should be known by next summer.  If the "profiling project" greatly reduces the blowing sand, it will be expanded to other areas of the beach.

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