Hurricane-damaged walkovers cut off Flagler Beach access

By Brittany Jones, Flagler County Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, November 28, 2016, 6:05 PM EST

Despite renewed access to A1A along the coast in Flagler Beach, the beach itself remains inaccessible in many locations. Hurricane Matthew damaged dozens of walkovers.

  • Hurricane Matthew damaged dozens of beach walkovers in Flagler Beach
  • At least 20 need to be replaced, costing thousands
  • Walkovers needed to stop people from walking on new dunes
  • HURRICANE MATTHEW: Complete Coverage

Mimi Eagleton lives on 23rd Street in Flagler Beach and she hasn't be able to use her street beach walkover in more than a month.

"Just the bottom half is gone," said Eagleton.

The closest one to Eagleton's home is two blocks away.

"We walk to the beach every day, I just have to walk further to get to the ocean," said Eagleton.

Many of the walkovers are missing the stairs and have broken rails.

The city released a spreadsheet that shows about half of the 52 walkovers were damaged, including some that were a complete loss.

City workers repaired the ones they could but now the city believes each replacement will cost between $5,000 and $6,000 a piece.

"With over 20 being completely damaged or beyond minor repairs, that's a pretty big bite to take at the taxpayers’ expense," said Capt. Matt Doughney, Flagler Beach Police Dept.

It's more than just convenience, the walkovers are needed to keep beach goers off of the dunes.

"Even walking, we need to let the dunes replenish and they can't replenish if we're stomping on them or driving over them," said Eagleton.

"They're not set, they're brand new, they're like baby dunes. So people walking all over those is only going to damage what we're trying to repair," said Capt. Doughney.

Eagleton is hoping for a quick solution.

"It'll be wonderful when all access is back and we can continue to clean and monitor the beaches as we did before," said Eagleton.

The city said it could be March or April before they can get all the walkovers for beach access open again.

Hurricane Matthew washed away parts of A1A, forcing state officials to close the road until it could be repaired earlier this month.