Jackson Co. planning multi-million dollar drainage project

Jackson Co. planning multi-million dollar drainage project
(Photo Source: WLOX News)

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County leaders now have a starting point to begin tackling drainage issues in the county. An engineering firm presented a multi-million dollar project to the board of supervisors which they say could have a major impact.

One of the big themes of the presentation was the need to stay away from having a reactive response to drainage problems when it comes to public works management. Waggoner Engineering says the project it is proposing allows the county to plan ahead to stop some of the most common problems before they happen.

"This is a map we developed just to contain all the different sites -- there's 68 in total," said Waggoner Engineering Project Engineer Matthew Hosey.

That's 68 different areas the firm identified as problem spots needing major work to improve Jackson County's watershed issues.

"So basically anything within these dotted lines drains from the Escatawpa River down here, same here with the Pascagoula River," Hosey said.

But when that water drains, it often doesn't have anywhere to go, causing flooding and other problems - especially with the record rainfalls we've seen lately.

"I have friends who have to worry about their house flooding when the dam is open in Mobile. And then, of course, right now with all the rain we've had, the drainage systems just haven't been working like they should," said resident Rebecca Lyon.

But Waggoner engineering reps say they've come up with some solutions. In a presentation to the county's board of supervisors, CEO Joe Waggoner laid out the results of a comprehensive study the firm conducted to over a two-year period.

"The red is for short term sites and the green is for long term sites and the blue are county maintenance," Hosey said.

Much of the work focuses drainage and dredging. The price tag is upwards of $50 million and could take a decade, if not longer to complete.

"This is not gonna be a turn the switch on then everything changes type thing. It's gradual. It didn't happen overnight and it won't be corrected overnight." Waggoner said.

But he says the long term results should be well worth the wait.

"Hopefully you can see less water across streets, less frequency and threats to flooding in residential areas that have recently become more prone to that," Waggoner said.

The next step for this project is to prioritize what areas they'd like to confront first, what it will take to improve drainage and then start identifying funding sources.

The board says some of that funding will come from GOMESA money, but the rest of it will need to come from grants.

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