St. Johns County surveys hurricane damage to coastal highways

Storm surge from Hurricane Dorian sent waves crashing over road

MARINELAND, Fla. – Sandbags have replaced the barriers along coastal roads in St. Johns County which were breached Wednesday during the height of Hurricane Dorian. 

Storm surge sent waves washing over A1A in Vilano Beach and Old A1A north of Marineland, deputies to shut down the roads for a few hours.

On Thursday, St. Johns County public works officials surveyed the erosion the breaches caused and discussed options to protect the roads and nearby homes.

A project already approved would plant sea oats along the path of Old A1A -- a stretch where the state road was rebuilt further inland due to previous hurricane damage -- to hopefully prevent flooding in the future. 

But because of erosion from this storm, they now have to reassess that project and will visit the area again Friday to additional study.

The water did get close to several homes in the Summer Haven community near Matanzas, but didn't cause any major damage as most of the homes are built on stilts.

But residents said they want to see a permanent barrier put up before a more powerful storm hits in the future.

"It could've been prevented and, eventually, they probably will," homeowner Tom Bell said. "As you see there, the state built that berm there and it protected. The breach happened right where the berm stopped where we have no protection."

On Thursday, a county public works team started removing the fencing damaged in the breach as they prepare to determine the best way to move the project forward.

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