Beach crews lower sand levels to keep Hwy 90 safer for drivers

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Sand is a road hazard drivers along Highway 90 in Harrison County know all too well. After every wind storm, drivers have to maneuver over sand and hope not to wreck. But now work is underway that should keep more sand on the beach and off the roadway.

"Oh, it's horrible," said driver Ashlee McInnis. "There's sand all over the sides. You're having to basically drive in the middle of the road just to dodge it so your tires aren't sliding all around."

While Harrison County crews worked to clear huge amounts of sand from the medians in Biloxi on Wednesday, over in Pass Christian it was a different story. From Menge Avenue to Espy Avenue is where officials said back in February they lowered the sand level along the seawall.

"As you can see, there's no sand on the highway," said Harrison County Sand Beach Director Chuck Loftis.

Encouraged by the early success, crews are working to get other parts of the beach lowered to 42 inches from the top surface or what's about five steps. However, they know keeping the levels downs is not a one time fix.

"In this section right here, we finished it in the end of February and in less than three months time it's almost all the way back up to the top. We had five steps showing," Loftis said. "So it's a constant battle, but we are working on it and we're definitely having to pull that sand away from the top of the seawall."

Thousands of square feet of fencing is going up to combat erosion. Officials said they believe a proactive approach will save money in cleanup and create a safer ride for drivers.

"Any time we can save from the sand blowing up on the highway and in the median areas, that's just double working for us and the state," Loftis said. "Any time that sand gets on the highway and it gets wet, it's always a safety issue."

Sand beach crews are asking the public to be careful around the new fencing as not to tear it down.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.