DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. – County officials said Hurricane Ian caused damage to most of Volusia’s beach access ramps and boardwalks after it swept through Central Florida over two weeks ago.
Officials said while some have reopened, other areas are still too dangerous to let people on.
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“The oceanfront is just devastating with the sea walls crashing in,” said Barry Nelson, who is visiting Daytona Beach Shores.
Visitors and residents alike are still in shock by the Volusia County coastline after Ian.
“I came Saturday. We were able to walk on the beach which we can’t today and there’s literally no stairs left from the hotels coming down,” resident Valentina Peacock said.
Some showed up to the popular Dunlawton Bridge access Friday in Daytona Beach Shores, hoping to get on the beach but found it badly damaged and closed.
Additionally, when the tide has gone down since the storm, the beach still has debris.
“There’s a lot of things sticking up from the sand that got washed up. There’s a lot of wood down there. It’s actually very dangerous,” Peacock said.
Volusia Beach Safety said it’s working to clean the washed-up debris.
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“Everyday we’re down there picking up debris that may have washed in from those high tides but use extreme caution when you’re walking the beach,” Beach Safety Deputy Chief Tammy Malphurs said.
She said the county engineers have slowly reopened some beach accesses. Debris still has to be picked up and poles put back in before some areas can reopen but other repairs could take months.
“They’re assessing all of the damage and we have to get contractors down here to fix everything like the beach access ramps and walkovers. Many walkovers had been completely destroyed,” Malphurs said.
The extreme high tide over the last couple of weeks makes getting to those repairs difficult. Malphurs said it’s expected to stick around all weekend, too, and will shut down the beaches that are open to drivers for hours.
“First thing in the morning, it may be open, but you won’t be able to stay on the beach. The tide will be coming up, you’ll have to watch it and exit the beach before high tide,” Malphurs said.
She said the best way to stay up to date with which beaches and access points are open is through the county’s Volusia Beaches app on your phone. Beach patrol officials update it throughout the day.