Teams prepare A1A, still vulnerable from Matthew, for Hurricane Dorian

Sand dune, construction projects still active

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Flagler County is bracing for Hurricane Dorian and the effects it could have on State Road A1A, still vulnerable after Hurricane Matthew wiped out almost 3 miles of Atlantic Avenue. Repairs are still underway.

"We met with the project team for the A1A project yesterday, so they're in the process right now of removing things that could be projectiles," Flagler Beach police Chief Matthew Doughney said.

Dorian strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center. The latest track shows the system striking Florida's east coast as a Category 3 hurricane.

[UPDATES: Track, computer models, satellite for Dorian | Hurricane Dorian forecast to hit Central Florida as Category 3 storm]

There are three projects currently underway along the 6 miles of beach, including a submerged seawall on the north end that isn't finished but is in place. Crews are also installing a French drainage system along a 2.5-mile stretch on the south end of A1A that's supposed to help with stormwater.
"That is probably the most fragile because it is exposed right now," Doughney said. "The road is dug up and the problem that we found out in Matthew is, when that storm surge comes in, it comes up underneath the asphalt and it washes actually out from underneath the roadway."

Dunes are also a concern. Many have been restored in the areas north of Flagler Beach, but the vegetation is new and hasn't had time to take hold in the sand. Within the city limits, officials said the restoration project hasn't even started.
"We're just focused on getting A1A back to what it was, actually better than what it was, and that project is still maybe about three or four months from completion so this is definitely going to put a delay in it," Doughney said. "Hopefully this storm will skirt around us and save us from losing what momentum we've gained on from getting this project complete."

Flagler County is also bracing for more flooding because of the lunar tide.
"If there's a storm surge, which will be very likely with this type of storm, that on top of the extra ordinary high tide will further out additional water and additional flooding into our community," Jonathan Lord, director of the Emergency Operations Center, said.

Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said his deputies are prepared.

"We have updated equipment for the rescues and to serve a flooded community better than we had during Irma and Matthew," Staly said.

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