Engineers: Rebuild Ocean Springs boardwalk closer to seawall

klnelson@sunherald.comJuly 1, 2014 

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD Water splashing against the toewall that had supported the sidewalk portion of the Front Beach boardwalk in Ocean Springs caused a washout and complete cave in of more than 200 feet of the boardwalk. Jackson County crews removed the broken cement and filled that section with sand awaiting repairs.

JOHN FITZHUGH — SUN HERALD Buy Photo

Engineers: Rebuild Front Beach boardwalk closer to seawall

OCEAN SPRINGS -- A 260-foot section of the popular Front Beach boardwalk will be rebuilt flush with the seawall along Front Beach Drive, if all goes according to plan at this Tuesday night's Board of Aldermen meeting.

The boardwalk caved in earlier this year when wave action ate away the beach that protected it and then undermined it. Jackson County crews removed the large slabs of broken cement and filled the area of boardwalk with sand until the city could decide what to do next.

In mid-May, the county also paid $25,000 to $30,000 to rebuild the beach in front of the structure. The road manager said then that wave action likely would wear away the beach and threaten the structure again by the end of the year.

County Supervisor Troy Ross said the recommendation was to tie that vulnerable stretch of boardwalk into the considerably more substantial seawall along Front Beach Drive.

Mayor Connie Moran said Tuesday that BMA Engineering of Gulfport has recommended just that.

"I'm going to ask the board tonight to accept plans to rebuild it flush to the seawall at that location," she said. She said if that passes, the city will take the plans to the county for review and then get two quotes for the rebuild and repair.

The state Department of Marine Resources has offered $25,000 in Tidelands money toward the cost and the city has authorized the transfer of $50,000 in Tidelands money toward that project and other areas of sand erosion along the boardwalk.

The 2-year-old boardwalk runs the length of Front Beach with a decorative wall for sitting. It is 10 feet wide, winding path that runs 1.2 miles, with island vegetation planted along one side. It is the centerpiece of a $2.2 million Katrina recovery project.

But the logistics of keeping it protected from erosion have becoming clear, especially in several spots where wave action is relentless and erosion is swift.

Vote and discussion this Tuesday night, see sunherald.com

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