FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. – A stretch of State Road A1A is back open after a washout forced officials to divert traffic over the weekend.
Flagler Beach Police posted on Twitter that the washout near the water tower on A1A has traffic detoured onto Clubhouse Drive, “around the problem area” until at least Monday morning.
That section was reopened around 2 p.m. Monday afternoon, with a section in Ormond-by-the-Sea reopened a few hours later.
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⚠️ Traffic Alert ⚠️ - Due to a washout on A1A near the water tower, traffic is being diverted onto Clubhouse Drive; around the problem area. FDOT from District 5 as a team on the way. pic.twitter.com/IXHbi8mpUu— Flagler Beach Police (@FBPD) July 16, 2023
Police officials said that there were sea turtle nests near the washout area and crews needed to coordinate to make the repairs without disrupting those nests.
During a meeting days after the start of the 2023 hurricane season, Flagler County officials heard a presentation about several projects from the FDOT to help protect A1A from the effects of future storms.
“The spotlight is A1A, and that’s the one everyone’s most concerned about,” Director of Transportation Development Jack Adkins said at the meeting that took place in early June.
Hurricane Ian caused Flagler Beach to lose a large amount of sand from its dunes in October and several agencies were coordinating ways to shore up the beach and the roads.
Flagler County government worked with the city, Florida Department of Transportation, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers to survey the dune loss along the beach and to protect State Road A1A.
In November, a portion of A1A collapsed from waves caused by Hurricane Nicole, forcing the closure of the roadway from 7th Street to 16th Street.
Later in June, officials announced that the state is giving Flagler County an additional $18 million for dune restoration. That’s on top of the $17 million the county was given in December as part of the governor’s state recovery plan after hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
County Engineer, Faith Alkhatib, said they will put that additional funding towards a major dredging project to bring sand in and hopefully reinforce much of the county’s dunes.
State Road A1A in Flagler Beach was also damaged in 2106 when Hurricane Matthew left stuck, leaving an an estimated $73 million in Flagler County alone. Nearly one mile of the beachside road collapsed after the hurricane.
Former U.S. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), who chaired the Oversight Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets, toured the damaged road in 2016 with FDOT officials.
“This is probably the most significant damage the state has occurred in our transportation system,” Mica said at the time.
The latest washout comes as FDOT officials said plans are still in motion for a federal beach renourishment project, although a timetable hasn’t been set.
Officials said the goal of the new projects is to provide permanent protection to vulnerable sections of A1A, but with construction still months away, uncertainty remains for the current hurricane season.
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