Flagler leaders not sold on FDOT's A1A plans

By Jeff Allen, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 04, 2017, 12:09 AM EST

Hurricane Matthew took out an entire section of State Road A1A and damaged much of Flagler County’s main tourist draw – Flagler Beach.  On Tuesday night, city and county officials tried to get on the same page in figuring out a permanent way to protect A1A from future storms.

Nancy and George Arrington moved to Flagler Beach two months before Hurricane Matthew.

“About the time we started getting settled we had the storm, and it’s been very traumatic,” said Nancy Arrington.

The couple admits they’re far from experts on what exactly should be done, but they live on the beach – and they came to Tuesday night’s workshop because they know what’s decided will affect them for years to come.

One option the Florida Department of Transportation has proposed is building a sea wall. County officials say a sea wall would effectively protect the roadway.

But Flagler Beach city leaders say there are other ways to protect the roadway – and they don’t want it.

George Arrington agrees.

“We went to beaches in South Carolina a lot, and when there was a seawall it just went under it or over it,” said Arrington.

FDOT has also proposed moving part of A1A further inland, which would make part of it one way – another idea city and county officials don’t seem crazy about.

County leaders also discussed whether to federalize parts of the beach to save the county money in the long run.

Some city leaders and residents would like to see more options to choose from.

“If we’re going to spend money on engineers, let’s do it in a smart way so we have some really good solutions to choose from,” said Eric Cooley, a Flagler Beach resident.

Other residents would like to see decisions made sooner than later.

“The right plan, but let’s not beat dead horses, and they tend to do that,” said Gayle Davis, a Flagler Beach resident.

The Arringtons are worried city and county leaders will take too long to decide what to do.

“It sounds like it’s going to be a while, and we’re worried about another storm hitting before they get very far with it, and that would be devastating,” said Nancy Arrington.

Flagler County leaders made no decisions at Tuesday night’s meeting. They say they hope to have some conceptual designs of final plans for A1A by the beginning of February.

FDOT says it remains open to all ideas, and has made no final decision for the project.