Heavy rains caused more washouts of the low dunes and rock revetments along State Road A1A this afternoon in what is becoming a recurring problem with almost every heavy rain event.
The most severe washout was between South 11th and 13th streets, a segment of road closed to traffic this afternoon. Last week’s rains had caused similar washouts, wrecking a walk-over and costing the city about $2,000 in repairs that the Federal Emergency Management Administration will not pay for, since those repairs are not associated with Hurricane Matthew.
There, stormwater runoff dug a deep gash through the rock revetments the state Department of Transportation put down when it rebuilt that section of A1A in the wake of Hurricane Matthew last October. Runoff dug the gash immediately south of where the the dune flattened out, to make way for the reconstructed zone. At that point, the road is level with the eastern shoulder, which then drops down in a slope of rocks to the beach. After traveling south along the dunes, the water essentially finds the point of least resistance to make its way to the ocean, and digs through.
“It’s inadequate what they rebuilt here,” Flagler Beach City Commissioner Rick Belhumeur, one of two commissioners at the scene this afternoon, said. “They’re trying to protect the road from the ocean but they’re not protecting it from the rain-water. The dune has to be higher than the road.”
There were less serious washouts in the area of 21st and 22nd streets north and in Beverly Beach. Flagler County Fire Rescue, the emergency helicopter, surveyed the shore for officials so they could have a better idea of where the damages were.
Within an hour and a half of the washout, a Department of Transportation subcontractor, DBI, helped by Flagler County road crews, sent two truckloads of red shell sand to the scene (the trucks belong to the county), where the 22 to 24 cubic feet of sand was dumped in the gash. (See the video below.)
City Commissioner Marshall Shupe, who was there in his capacity as a fire policemen this afternoon, said more trucks were likely on the way. He, too, was concerned with the recurring washouts, as they required diverting traffic onto Central Avenue, overburdening it and possibly causing it damage in the long term.
The helicopter, Shupe said, “gave us the heads up by Snack Jack’s and by the water tower, but that was just water accumulating.”
For now, there are no long-term solution other than the construction of a more permanent A1A–to replace its emergency version in place now at the south end of town–starting in the fall of 2018. But that’s almost a year and a half away.
“We know where the three or four spots are that are going to take the most maintenance,” Shupe said. “Maybe something from FDOT will come together and not expect us to do this for the next year and a half.”
Belhumeur said he intends to bring up the issue for discussion at the city commission’s next meeting on June 22.