Beach Restoration Project To Be Completed Ahead Of Schedule

The round-the-clock work continues to get our sand beach ready for the summer tourism season. You may have noticed that since early December crews have been working to replenish the sand along the 26-miles of sand beach along the coast. Crews are expected to be finished in the next few months.

Bobby Weaver, the Sand Beach Authority Director spoke to WLOX, "We've got a dredge working offshore and what they're doing is cutting into the sand bank which is below the sea level and pumping it mechanically onto the beach. It's been almost 13 years since crews replenished the sand on the beach. The job began on the beach just west of Grand Casino in Biloxi and is moving westward."The beach was put in the early 1950s to protect the seawall. Crews are working on a section of the beach right in front of the naval home.

Weaver explains this dredge barge vessel basically goes underwater, cuts into the sand and pumps it back on the sand beach. Workers say this process has been slowed down because of the cold weather and other factors. "We got into an area of the beach now that had a lot more erosion than he anticipated into the project and time wise is taking a lot more time to get sand into beach," said John Chaffers of JESCO. He also says the tide being so far out has caused a delay. As they continue to work.. they're also depending on Mother Nature. "As it rains, it bleaches the sand out the more rain it gets the whiter the sand gets... and the sun bleaches it, also," said Chaffers.

Meanwhile organizers say they're confident everything will be just right for summer and they will be ready for tourism season. Chaffers says he's bringing in antoher dredge barge to make sure the job is completed on schedule or maybe before. Hopefully it will be finished no later than March 1, 2001.

- Miyoka Broussard