Plans to reduce sand on Hwy. 90 go back to the drawing board - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Plans to reduce sand on Hwy. 90 go back to the drawing board

The natural growth of plants attracts Least Terns to nest, and it's not a good idea to disturb their nesting grounds. (Photo source: WLOX) The natural growth of plants attracts Least Terns to nest, and it's not a good idea to disturb their nesting grounds. (Photo source: WLOX)
The Harrison County Board of Supervisors president is working on other methods of sand cleanup. (Photo source: WLOX) The Harrison County Board of Supervisors president is working on other methods of sand cleanup. (Photo source: WLOX)
The experiment was modeled after a beach in Florida. It was to essentially rope off a portion of beach. (Photo source: WLOX) The experiment was modeled after a beach in Florida. It was to essentially rope off a portion of beach. (Photo source: WLOX)
HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

An effort is underway to reduce the amount of sand blowing onto Hwy. 90. To make that happen, the county beautification administration is conducting an experiment on a portion of Biloxi's beach.

The experiment has revealed that it may not be the best answer to the problem.

What does it take to keep Hwy. 90 as sand free as possible? Right now, it takes a whole lot of manpower and time.

In 2014, the Harrison County Beautification Commission came up with an experiment that was geared at providing an easier solution.

"It has worked on the daily wind that we have," said Harrison County Sand Beach Director Chuck Loftis.

The experiment was modeled after a beach in Florida. It was to essentially rope off a portion of beach.

This portion was left to nature. No combing and no maintenance. The county selected a section of beach in front of Beauvoir that didn't have a parking bay nearby.

"So it's not a lot of foot traffic in the area. We did cut some walkthroughs in the area that they can utilize if they wanted to go down on the beach itself," said Loftis.

According to Loftis, the sand on the highway has been reduced by about 75 percent in normal wind conditions, but would it be a good idea for the rest of the beach?

Some people say not really, but there may be an alternative solution.

"I would definitely choose clean beach, but I don't think it's a problem to reserve portions," said beach goer Maxine Minton.

Reserving portions is something the county is considering, but there is another issue that beach goers see when considering the experiment, and it's not the sand.

"It looks like there's plenty of birds settling down, and you'd hate to disturb them," said Bryan Trest while enjoying the sun.

The natural growth of plants attracts Least Terns to nest, and it's not a good idea to disturb their nesting grounds. The birds can be very protective. So, although the sand is reduced, Loftis said there may be too much going against it to work full scale. 

"I really can't see it going forward in a lot of areas," said Loftis.

For now, the search is still on for a good solution to the sand. Until then, the seemingly endless sweeping continues. 

The Harrison County Board of Supervisors president is working on other methods of sand cleanup. This includes working to bring the county, MDOT and the City of Biloxi together in a coordinated effort to sweep the sand.

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