Volusia beach ramps slowly reopen after hurricane damage, some could take longer

It could be months before many ramps reopen, county officials say

PONCE INLET, Fla. – Volusia County’s beaches are slowly reopening, with many ramps and walkovers still heavily damaged from the hurricanes.

County leaders said they’re working as quickly as they can but after assessing the damage further in the last two weeks, they said it could be the spring or even summer before many approaches and ramps reopen.

“We’ve been trying to sneak in since Ian and finding ways,” said Volusia resident Heidi Picard-Ramsey.

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Like many residents and visitors, Picard-Ramsey and her family have been getting creative in finding a way down to the beach. She said it’s starting to get easier with car accesses and walkovers slowly reopening, even if they have to drive further from home in Daytona Beach Shores.

“I was actually surprised with how many are now open again in the north part and down into Ponce Inlet,” she said.

Captain A.J. Miller with Volusia Beach Safety said about half of the driving portion of Volusia’s beaches are back open but he said getting to all of it is still limited with about half of the county’s ramps closed.

“FEMA has been here the past couple of weeks assessing the damage from Hurricane Nicole. So, we’re doing our best to try and get things moving and then get access back open to the beach,” he said.

Miller said getting the other parts of the driving beach reopened is partly up to conservation pole replacement, which has been difficult with recent extreme high tides.

“If we keep getting these nor-easterly swells coming through and pushing that tide and pushing that surf, it’s going to continue to take out those conservation poles we’re putting in. We have to have those in because we can’t open for driving in those sections without those poles in place,” he said.

The county is still warning beachgoers to avoid structures at the beach, with many compromised or at risk of further collapse.

About half of the pedestrian walkovers in the county are still closed too.

“Don’t go around those signs to get access, we do have other access points on the beach. If you go to Volusia beaches app, you can find all of those access points that are open on a daily basis,” said Miller.

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