Officials want ways to keep sand on beach, off highway

HARRISON COUNTY — Officials are looking for ways to keep sand along the Mississippi Gulf Coast on the beach where it belongs — instead of blowing onto U.S. Highway 90.

Sand on the highway is a driving hazard, and cleaning it up is costly. WLOX television reports Harrison County has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop the sand from blowing onto the highway, or at least reduce the amount.

The corps next month will present recommendations for keeping the sand on the beach.

“We’re going to do a trial area, hopefully in the near future, of lowering the template of the beach to a certain level to try and take care of the problem of the sand blowing onto the roadway,” said Harrison County Sand Beach Director Chuck Loftis. “We have to be sure not to damage the seawall in any way with removing too much sand. So, that’s what the Corps is coming in and telling us, how low we can put the template of the beach.”

Adding dunes and vegetation will be part of the long-term solution.

“It took us 20 years to get those dunes up and running on the beach and Katrina took it out. And it’s just going to take time. I hope it doesn’t take another 20 years,” said Connie Rockco, a county supervisor.

Harrison County supervisors also have contacted Mississippi State University for help and suggestions on how best to control that wind-blown sand.

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