HANCOCK COUNTY — With the seawall barricades and sand re-nourishment projects, about 40 percent of Hancock County’s seven miles of beaches are under construction or not easily accessible.
But county officials expect the re-nourishment projects could be completed by July.
The beaches need sand pumped in every 10 years or so, county engineer Geoff Clemens said during a meeting this week.
“What man puts, Mother Nature takes away year in, year out,” he said. “It’s a constant fight to keep sand on those beaches.”
Crews have finished pumping sand onto a pile near the Washington Street Pier in Bay St. Louis. The pile stands about 30 feet tall and is destined to be moved to the beaches in Lakeshore.
Upward of 300,000 cubic yards of sand is being pumped across the Bay of Saint Louis from the Pass Christian harbor expansion, Clemens said.
The sand will be used to extend the beach profile out to 200 feet from Washington Avenue in Bay St. Louis to Dane Street in Waveland. It will also be used on the beach in Lakeshore.
Pipes will carry the sand to nine collection sites in Bay St. Louis and Waveland. Because of the distance, it would be impractical to pump sand to Lakeshore, Clemens said.
“It was designated that the first material pumped in would be stockpiled,” he said. “There’s a bid out now to where that material will be trucked down Beach Road to Lakeshore.”
Clemens said a contract would be awarded for the sand pile trucking in May. It should take about 30 days to complete, he said.
Restrictions will be in place on speed and load weight so the new roadway is not damaged, he said.
Washington Avenue was chosen as the stockpile area since there is room for the trucks to turn around and they can be loaded without having to cross the bike path, he said.
“The area we stockpiled it, you know, obviously it’s not perfect because it is a high use area, but it seemed to be the safest place for trucks to enter and exit the roadway,” he said.
As of April 19, about 60,000 cubic yards of sand had been pumped to Bay St. Louis, said Milady Howard, project manager of the Pass harbor. Dredging of the Pass harbor was nearly one-third complete with about 105,000 cubic yards already dredged, she said.
The sand pumping is expect to finish around May 19 and would end about one mile east of Dane Street, she said.
Howard said the option of barges to transport sand to Lakeshore was considered, but rejected because of the depth of the Mississippi Sound. Channels would have had to been dredged to allow the loading and unloading of the barge, making the option cost prohibitive, she said.
Pass Christian received a grant to transport the sand to Bay St. Louis, saving Hancock County millions of dollars, Clemens said.
“And hopefully it will leave the beaches in the best condition we have seen them in for 20 or 30 years,” he said.
The beach from U.S. 90 to St. Stanislaus will soon be re-nourished as well, Clemens said.
Nearly 100,000 cubic yards of sand will be pumped in from the Bay St. Louis harbor project, which Mayor Les Fillingame said may begin as early as June.