MDOT finds causes of constant seeping water on Highway 90

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - MDOT calls it an inconvenience for drivers, but one Biloxi neighbor believes it's a hazard. For eight years now, water has been pooling along the side of one section of Highway 90. MDOT engineers have narrowed down the cause of the seeping water. They say it's a combination of a dip in the road and vibrations from vehicles.

It was another hot, sunny day in Biloxi Wednesday, yet trucks and cars were plashing through a pool of water on the south side of Highway 90 near Chalmers Drive.

"Ever since I've been here, that water has pooled up whether it rains or whether it doesn't rain," said Michael Hedgepeth.

Hedgepeth lives and works nearby. He said potholes caused by the standing water creates a driving hazard.

"Because every time somebody hits that pothole, they swerve. And I'm afraid somebody is going to get hit out there," said Hedgepeth. "We have people that actually cross the road there going to the beach. It's a concern for them crossing the road, because the road can be slick. They can slip and fall."

The state Transportation Department said the area has been a problem spot since it rebuilt Highway 90 after Hurricane Katrina.

"What we thought at the time, because there was so much sand in the area, that drainage would not be such an issue. We really don't have that anywhere else," said MDOT Area Engineer Gabe Faggard.

After working with the City of Biloxi, MDOT ruled out leaks in the water lines. Engineers determined that the area is lower than other parts of Highway 90. That dip allows run-off water from higher areas to seep through cracks in the concrete instead of through drains. Passing vehicles could also be a factor.

"Even the motorists using the road every day, the vibrations from that roadway combined with the water table that's higher in that area tends to just vibrate the water up. And it finds cracks in the roadway and brings it to the surface," said Faggard.

MDOT plans to fix the problem by digging a trench along the roadside and installing a French drain system.

"We'll put some geo-textile fabric similar to landscaping fabric. We'll put some perforated sewer pipes in and some gravel," said Faggard. "That typically pulls water towards it. And then we can divert the water down a drain."

"I think that would be great. Get it fixed in a short period of time," said Hedgepeth. "It would help the traffic flow better. It would make it easier for people turning in to our area, and I think it would be great for everybody."

MDOT said it will cost about $50,000 to fix the problem. It is looking at funding options to pay for the repairs.

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