Flagler Beach looks to long-term plans to fix A1A after storms damaged road

Seawall, dune renourishing could be done next year if grant funding secured, county engineers say

FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. – A1A along Flagler Beach is finally reopening after Hurricanes Ian and Nicole tore away chunks of the road.

It’s not the first time it’s happened in a storm. Now city and county leaders are wanting to find long-term solutions.

The city commission will meet Thursday night to discuss those plans. The city just put together an “A1A Resiliency Strike Team” who will create a fast-track plan for the road. While they have made temporary fixes, City Manager William Whiston said it’s just a matter of time before high tide or another storm rolls in eating away at the dunes again.

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“Where are we going with this? We just stabilized the road. It’s open, it’s travelable, but now we need to take the next step,” he said.

As FDOT finishes the temporary repairs on A1A after Hurricane Nicole swept through, Whitson said they need to find a long-term solution too.

“We want to come up with a plan that’s reasonable in cost that will have the road resilient for the next 10, 20, 30 years,” he said.

Flagler County and city leaders have tossed out ideas about adding seawalls, renourishing the dunes, and even in the long-run moving A1A more inland.

“Should we move A1A? Well guess what, you don’t snap your fingers and do something like that,” Whitson said.

County engineers said the seawall and dune renourishing could be done next year if they can get grant funding.

It’s something business owners on A1A are depending on. Before Ian and Nicole, the road had to be rebuilt in 2016 after Hurricane Matthew, as well.

“I don’t want to say we’re used to it but we know we’ve been lucky before so we just try to stay positive. It’s worked out just about every time now,” said TJ Cangemi, owner of The Anchor restaurant.

He said they would rather rely on the dunes to protect them than luck.

“For obvious reasons — protecting our business, the building is a little old, the wildlife in the area. All very important things to consider,” he said.

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Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.