ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Beachgoers will notice a big change at Vilano Beach and Porpoise Point beginning this weekend: No more cars allowed on the beach.
A St. Johns County sand placement project to temporarily repair the beaches after Hurricane Matthew is closing vehicle access to the beaches beginning Saturday, county commissioners said.
Matthew stripped away lots of sand from over 100 oceanfront homes. Some residents are happy the project to replace the sand is getting underway, but others think sand replacement is not enough of a fix.
Amy Welch, who visits Vilano Beach regularly, said she was disappointed to hear the beach will be closed to vehicles.
“I come at least three times a week, and I love it here,” Welch said.
The county said the dredging project will pump sand from St. Augustine Inlet and the Intracoastal Waterway and will and release it near Surfside Park and north.
Oceanfront homeowners agreed to allow equipment on their property so the dredging project could move forward, but one man, who has lived in Vilano Beach for 20 years, said it's not enough.
“I think bulkheads protecting not just the houses, but the highway,” he said. “This highway runs all the way from south Florida all the way to New York. It needs to be protected.”
As recent as this month, county officials were in Washington, D.C., asking for more help that would focus on improving the beaches for the next 50 years.
The Army Corps of Engineers and Florida Inland Navigation District dredging project is scheduled to be completed by Memorial Day.
Commissioners urged pedestrians to use caution in the area during the project, because heavy equipment and large pipes will be in both areas.
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