FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. – The historic and scenic A1A coastal byway in Flagler Beach reopened Monday after 1.3 miles of roadway was damaged in Hurricane Matthew last month, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced.
“During Hurricane Matthew, A1A was severely damaged and required extensive restoration. Following the storm, I toured the damage along our east coast, including the destruction to A1A, and spoke with families and businesses recovering from this major hurricane. The Flagler Beach community relies on A1A for its livelihood and the road needed to be fixed immediately," Scott said.
The reopening came just 18 days after Scott asked the Florida Department of Transportation to expedite the repair of two-way traffic on A1A.
"As we recover from Hurricane Matthew, our top priority is to get people back to work and back in their normal routines. I appreciate the hard work that went into making this happen so quickly," Scott said.
When Hurricane Matthew tore through Flagler County, it destroyed parts of A1A and closed several businesses. Oceanside Beach Bar & Grill had to let go of several employees, telling them it would be four to six months or more before they could get back to work.
"We were devastated, and they were saying six months to a year, and we were so worried that we were going to have to close down our business after 30 years," owner John Lulgjuraj said.
However, "open for business" signs are dotting the beachside just four weeks later. Scott praised crews for working quickly.
"People are depending on it for their jobs, many people don't have a lot of money sitting in the bank, they need these jobs," Scott said.
FDOT said the expedited construction was just a temporary fix.
"What we did is (we) moved the road over closer to the sidewalk so that it was away from the damaged area and away from the areas that are sensitive that will take some time to work through," an official said.
But food is back on the table, and workers are back on the restaurant floor ready to serve at Oceanside Beach Bar & Grill, and ready to get Flagler's beachside up and running.
Though a more permanent fix will take several months, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office said there are no detours at this time.