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Parts of an airport runway are helping counter dangerous bluff erosion in Racine County

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RACINE COUNTY -- Parts of an airport runway are helping counter dangerous bluff erosion in Racine County. It's a temporary fix, but it's offering some relief for homeowners, who worry they could lose their homes to Lake Michigan.

Bluff erosion in Racine CountySlabs of concrete arrived in Mount Pleasant on Monday morning, August 1st by the truckload.

"The level of urgency is still high," said Mount Pleasant Village President Jerry Garski.

100 dump trucks hauled the concrete up from Waukegan, Illinois.

Garski said a contractor on a construction project at the Waukegan Airport agreed to donate the materials -- for use by those lakeshore residents affected by bluff erosion.

"This is just something that, come September and October when we start getting heavier wave action, we don't lose our roads, infrastructure or someone's house," said Garski.

Bluff erosion in Racine County

Bluff erosion in Racine County

In May, Racine County officials declared a State of Emergency due to dangerous erosion caused by high water levels in Lake Michigan, strong wave action and unstable bluffs. The concrete can help stabilize the bluffs.

"It will go at the toe of the bluff, in the backyards of the homeowners that need it," said Garski.

Bluff erosion in Racine County

Bluff erosion in Racine County

To be clear, the Wisconsin DNR said the concrete does not represent a final solution. The DNR says large boulders will need to be installed as well, to stop the bluffs from crumbling.

The Village of Mount Pleasant has an application in to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permanent fix. But there is no set timeline for when that could happen -- and protecting a property can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.

"I feel sorry for our neighbors. Some of them can't afford to shore up their shorelines," said Mount Pleasant resident Joe Crushing.

Bluff erosion in Racine County

The concrete offered Monday isn't nearly enough for the dozen or so families whose homes are in jeopardy, but it is a start.

"Something is better than nothing," said Crushing.

The 100 truckloads of concrete being delivered Monday is just the beginning for people in Racine County. Officials are searching for more contractors with materials to donate.

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