GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A major waterway is getting an upgrade in Gulfport. The Industrial Seaway canal has been struggling with erosion issues for years. Officials are hoping those issues will be a thing of the past thanks to some new construction.
Bill Hessell, Director of the Harrison County Development Commission, said damage during Hurricane Isaac is to blame for the deteriorating conditions.
"We get heavy rains or storms come through here. We get a lot of erosion," said Hessell.
The erosion was inching closer and closer to the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies.
"There's actually a lot of areas where it's only a few feet close to Dolphin Ln. which is the access road to IMMS," said Luke Lizana with Brown, Mitchell & Alexander, Inc. consulting firm.
Dr. Moby Solangi, Director of IMMS, said he was worried that access to his facility would soon be compromised.
"We get about 40,000 people a year now, and the road is being used extensively," said Solangi.
Solangi hoped for a permanent solution. The county worked to obtain federal and state funding to complete a $1.8 million project to get the canal back in shipshape.
This construction project extends hundreds of yards in certain areas on either side of the Lorraine-Cowan Rd. drawbridge. It includes reducing the slope on the south side of the canal and then putting a geo-textile film over that.
"Then on top of the film, we'll put the heavy rock that you see, and this is a more permanent solution than some of the temporary fixes we've used in the past," said Hessell.
Hessell hopes this permanent solution will keep the banks in place for many years to come.
The project is scheduled to be complete by the end of this month.
FEMA is paying 75 percent and Harrison County and MEMA are each paying 12.5 percent to fund the project on a reimbursement agreement.