VILANO BEACH, Fla. – Beginning Saturday, vehicles won't be allowed to travel on Porpoise Point due to erosion, high tides and inclement ocean conditions, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office announced Friday.
The restriction will be in effect for at least a week, the Sheriff's Office said. Officials will monitor the beach daily and reinstate vehicle access when conditions become safer.
In addition to safety, officials say they’re worried about the additional damage vehicles may cause on the beach.
Meanwhile, residents near Porpoise Point Beach are concerned about rapid erosion happening right in their backyards as Tropical Storm Florence churns over the Atlantic Ocean.
Strong waves are expected to pound area beaches and wash away even more sand this weekend.
St. Johns County officials say the beaches have already been weakened from the impact of Hurricanes Matthew and Irma over the last two years. The hurricanes significantly impacted Porpoise Point by taking away the dunes and a portion of the beach.
IMAGES: Porpoise Point beach erosion
Residents like Jeff Shubart who live along the shore say it’s a problem that’s only continued to get worse- especially during high-tide when water moves right up into the back of homes along the shore.
“We don’t have anything left to protect us, no dunes. That little bit of conservation zone behind you is all we have,” Shubart said.
He fears that one day, it will all be gone because of beach erosion.
Hurricanes Matthew and Irma may be to blame for the complete infiltration of the shores in the area, said Director Neal Shinkre with St. Johns County Public Works.
“It really has that has really caused a hydraulic drift of the tidal actions that occur in that area. The movement of sand is always to the north and south. There is a jetty there that kind of used to allow sand to come back to Porpoise Point. There is not much of a sand balance that is left because of erosion both to the north of the jetty and the south of the jetty,” Shinkre said.
The county is working with the Army Corps of Engineers to find a long-term solution.