MDOT crews busy removing wayward sand from beach highway - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

MDOT crews busy removing wayward sand from beach highway

Workers with end loaders, dump trucks and signal warnings are working on the beach front highway between Biloxi and Pass Christian. Workers with end loaders, dump trucks and signal warnings are working on the beach front highway between Biloxi and Pass Christian.
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Blowing sand means busy times for M-DOT crews. They face the annual challenge of removing all that wayward sand.  April is generally the peak time for all that sand blowing off the beach.

But here we are almost June and those southerly winds are still piling up sand along 90.

"Every year has got its own different battles. And this one does seem to be going on a little more than normal. But we'll tackle it as we get it," said MDOT Engineer Chuck Starita.

End loaders, dump trucks and signal crews are assigned clean-up duty from Biloxi to Pass Christian.

You may have noticed the big sand pile near downtown Gulfport. That is where the sand winds up after it's scooped off the highway by MDOT crews. It's stockpiled there and used for future beach replenishment projects.

Sand in the road can be as dangerous as snow for drivers trying to dodge the drifts.  It can easily cause a car to go out of control.

"Could be extremely dangerous. If you see sand in the roadway, please slow down. Be careful through it. If it's safe for you to change lanes and go around the sand, then please do. Make sure it's safe," said Jackie Rhodes, with the Biloxi Police Department.

The other warning for drivers is to ensure the safety of the MDOT workers removing the sand.  Be aware of their presence and treat it like any other work zone.

"Anytime you see workers on the road, we beg for people to slowdown. Especially down here under this sand on the asphalt pavement. You can easily lose traction and it could be a much worse situation," said Starita.

He said clearing the main lanes of the highway is the first priority. After that's done, they'll get to work on the shoulders and parking bays.

Harrison County's Sand Beach Department has been working on ways to reduce the problem of blowing sand. A test project that involved lowering the profile of the sand beach in Pass Christian has shown promise.

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