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Dozens of Dune Walkovers Closed Again as Flagler Beach Reels From Latest Storm Damage

| January 5, 2018

closed dune walkovers

It’s becoming an increasingly common sight in Flagler Beach: a dune walk-over at North 23rd Street. (© FlaglerLive)

Flagler Beach is not catching a break from the weather or the ocean, and that may well be the town’s new normal, as is becoming apparent for many beach-side communities on Florida’s Atlantic flank: with higher sea levels and more intense storms, it doesn’t take only major hurricanes to cause damage anymore.

The city maintains 54 dune walk-overs, the public’s most essential link between State Road A1A and the beach. Most were damaged by Hurricane Irma, and most were subsequently repaired with the exception of 10 or a dozen.

Then came what’s being called the “Bomb Cyclone” of the earlier part of the week, which combined high tides with a full moon and a storm. “Last night’s high tides associated with the winter ‘Bomb Cyclone’ severely damaged many of our city’s beach access/dune crossover locations,” City Manager Larry Newsom wrote in a Thursday memo.

City staff conducted an inspection of all walkovers and deemed only 17 of the 54 walkovers safe to use by the public–just six at the north end of town, and 11 south of State Road 100.

Above, the walk-overs that are still usable in Flagler Beach.

Above, the walk-overs that are still usable in Flagler Beach.

The Flagler Beach Pier, however, remains open, with the benefit of a sensor now installed on the structure to monitor its movement and provide an added, empirical measure for official to determine the pier’s safety for users. The sensor measures the pier’s movements north, south, east and west as well as its vertical movements, according to City Commissioner Rick Belhumeur, who’s conducted his own surveys of the shoreline for the past two days.

Belhumeur is more hopeful about the long-term prospects of the beach. “Hurricane Matthew took so much sand away from the coast line leaving us extremely vulnerable even during smaller storms,” he said this afternoon. “Hopefully after our dunes are rebuilt and have time to stabilize, things will return to what we’ve become accustomed to over the last many decades.”

As has been the case repeatedly even with rain storms since Hurricane Matthew, the state Department of Transportation had to implement emergency dune repairs at various segments, especially at the north end of town, where a detour was in place between North 20th and North 23rd Streets Thursday morning as crews reworked the dune rock revetments and dumped more sand. The county had its own share of washouts and minor flooding issues at the north end of the county and had to dump sand to form a new berm on Flagler Drive to protect Marineland Acres from flooding.

Repairs to the dunes earlier this week on State Road A1A. (© FlaglerLive)

Repairs to the dunes earlier this week on State Road A1A. (© FlaglerLive)

The state Transportation Department in six months will begin work on the “permanent” reconstruction of State Road A1A, a $5.9 million project covering 1.4 miles, from South 9th to South 22nd streets, that will take at least a year and include a drainage system running below what will be a new median splitting A1A. But it’s not certain that the project will eliminate the need for repetitive repairs to the rock revetments that brace the highway against erosion–and the road cannot survive without the revetments.

Meanwhile, the city has eliminated parking along that damaged part of A1A in an effort to preserve the weaker dunes, while the state Transportation Department has periodically dumped sand along the way, creating the inevitable nuisance of sand dusting or washing over the road, but also protecting what’s left of the dunes from further erosion.

The city is urging residents to use only the open dune walkover access points and not walk down the dunes elsewhere, as that damages them and what plants have been added to protect them. ” City Ordinance 6-9 prohibits the destruction, harm, molestation, cutting, harvesting, removal or eradication or cause of destruction of any plant life on the Dune areas within the city,” Newsom wrote in his memo. “Please do not attempt to utilize closed Beach Access/Dune Crossover locations. Closed locations have clearly visible yellow ‘Caution’ tape and wooden boards blocking access. These locations have been deemed unstable and have hereby been closed for public safety.”

flagler beach larry newsom

Larry Newsom (© FlaglerLive)

City volunteers will be conducting a beach cleanup sometime in the next two weeks similar to one conducted after Hurricane Matthew, though an exact date has yet to be set. The city is seeking volunteers. Some 150 volunteers took part in the post-Matthew clean-up, which removed significant mounds of debris, including splintered lumber from broken walk-overs and from the pier that had washed onto shore. A smaller amount of similar debris washing on shore again.

“We’d like to thank our residents and visitors in advance for their patience as we once again embark on repairing Beach Access/Dune Crossover locations in our city,” Newsom wrote. “Additional inspections of the Beach Access/Dune Crossover locations will be conducted in the next two weeks and a schedule for repairs and/or replacement will be issued to the public once these inspections have been completed.”

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25 Responses for “Dozens of Dune Walkovers Closed Again as Flagler Beach Reels From Latest Storm Damage”

  1. John dolan says:

    Move the town.

  2. Mark101 says:

    Well when you perform half ass repairs you will get half as results. Fix it right or give up and enjoy a rebuild year after year after year,. But what can you expect from Flagler County,

  3. bob says:

    Move the highway or move the ocean.

  4. Dave says:

    I feel so sorry for these shores, constantly abused by the town’s who’s responsibility it is to protect them, instead they flaunt their dunes like a trophy wife, shame on Flagler Beach, move A1A to central and lessen the walkovers and beach access

  5. palmcoastpioneers says:

    Historic MARKERS

    Since revenue seems to be an issue why then not apply for Historic MARKERS for Flagler Beach / Flagler County areas. Once APPROVED then apply for Grant Monies from the State of Florida Historic Preservation Office.

  6. Really says:

    And the sum of 5MM is being considered to repair a beach that will wash away.smh

  7. Trumpster says:

    Shoveling shit against the tide. Until the elected idiots acknowledge Climate Change and address the real; issues, we will simply continue to bankrupt the taxpayers while we line the pockets of politicians at the local, state and federal levels.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Just get them fixed before summer because this is a drawing card for beach goers and tourists!! Why only in Flagler County????? I have not heard of other coastline counties having these issues and all are equally impacted. I am beginning to think the problem is with the officials and the staff they have doing the work.

  9. Richard says:

    Two houses along the ocean in Painter’s Walk had no shoreline damage from hurricanes Matthew and Irma whereas a number of houses in the same area were Red Flagged due to undermining of the dunes. Those two houses had seawalls installed. That says a lot about what works and what doesn’t. Now they are going to spend 6 million dollars for about 12-13 blocks of south A1A that WILL end up in the ocean one day. Basically Flagler Beach officials want to continue to throw our tax dollars into the ocean by using useless repairs with the same results. As the saying goes “do the same thing, get the same results”. Way to go people! Just shows the intelligence of our city and county officials that are “working” for us.

  10. Butch says:

    Just for the record, the walkovers were previously damaged by Hurricane
    Matthew, not Hurricane Irma.
    Also, the City of Flagler Beach Maintenance
    Crew did most of the repairs to help stretch the
    limited funding available.
    Time to stop the negativity and pull together
    to rebuild our beautiful beach town.

  11. TeddyBallGame says:

    I have always wondered how people can construct these things then hang a Private Property sign and even a lock to keep the public from using them. Are these constructions on private or public lands¿

    And why is the question mark on my new iPad upside down¿

  12. Outsider says:

    The sands of the beaches and the barrier islands themselves have been shifting for billions of years. Maybe when people get that through their heads they will realize building roads and structures inches from the oceans is a bad idea. In the meantime, they’ll keep sucking tax dollars from me to try and prevent the inevitable.

  13. DOWNTOWN says:

    You can’t defeat Mother Nature regardless of how much money you throw at her trying to win the battle. Instead of fighting against her why not find a way to work with her. It’s been proven that wooden dune walk overs cannot and have not stood up to the battle. So why not concrete walk overs or portable walk overs that can be pulled out of harms way when a major storm event approaches. I know they will say that’s to much work and takes to much manpower. Well, what your doing now is doing the work over and over, using more manpower and throwing more money away. Take a look at the stairs being used at some marinas and private docks, that can float with the rising water or be hoisted up and above the rising water. Think outside the box for a change. Don’t continue to do the same thing over and over thinking your going to have a different outcome. A smart man would have figured out by now that it isn’t going to happen.

  14. Bc. says:

    A sea wall is the only answer do it rite and be done with the millions wasted with beach replenishment

  15. Anonymous says:

    TeddyBallGame, the property owners that have those signs purchased what is called Riparian Water Rights. They own that little piece where their walkover is. A title company could explain it more in detail.

  16. Old Lady says:

    Let’s clean it up, make the most of it and sed the politicians back to New York

  17. Anonymous says:

    You can’t fix stupid! If it were done right, this wouldn’t keep happening. There is coast line all the way up and down the coast and yes…only in Flagler County. I am waiting for our elected officials in Flagler Beach to get together with the idiots that run the county and come up with a solution like was done last year with administrator Coffey which turned out to be a joke……stupid is-stupid does. Vote out incumbents and get some people qualified to run this place. All we get is a bunch of hot air….they all tell us what we want to hear—and their true colors shine through when they get in office. Time for change…..drain the swamp!

  18. Richard says:

    @TeddyBallGame – The dune crossovers that are gated or marked private are built on private property that is deeded to the owner living across A1A. You can verify that by looking up one of the properties in the tax rolls to see the actual property area.

    In regards to your Ipad displaying upside down ? marks, simply hold down the ? key and you should be presented with options to choose from. Or Google the problem and you will find multiple solutions.

  19. Dave says:



    TeddyBallGame: You’re using Spanish punctuation.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Yes, once again it is called Riparian Rights.

  22. Marie M says:

    FYI. The walkerovers on the North end of Flagler were damaged by MATTHEW. . The one by Turtle Shack has been in the middle of the beach since then. I have dated pictures proving this. The rains last June took more dunes out from flood run off from A1A then IRMA did. Funny how they waited to 2 days before IRMA hit to have convoys of sand trucks dump sand. They didn’t save the beach..the storm shifted west..causing the Intracoastal waterway to flood 1000s of homes. Stop throwing more sand at the problem. You’re spitting into the wind. Permanent solution NEEDED NOW BEFORE NEXT HURRICANE SEASON.

  23. jim says:

    I agree John, this town needs to move west about a mile. What is the definition of insanity?

  24. Dave says:

    Move the town!

  25. smarterthanmost says:

    “What is the definition of insanity?”, making Central Avenue, A1A.

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