Major steps taken toward fixing West Melbourne roads damaged by Hurricane Irma

By Greg Pallone, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 5:09 PM EDT

In south Brevard County, drivers need to pack a little more patience waiting for a big road project to wrap up.

  • Major steps made toward fixing roads damaged by Irma
  • Dairy Rd, Hibiscus Blvd shut down since Irma landed
  • City officials said road project ahead of schedule

Two roads damaged after Hurricane Irma remain closed months later, but major steps are being made this week.

Dairy Road between State Road 192 and Hibiscus Boulevard in West Melbourne has been shut down since the area collapsed a week after Irma roared through.

It’s meant major detours in the area, as the normally 13,000 cars a day that usually travel the roadway have been forced to take other routes.

"You have to go Airport, or Evans, or Hollywood Boulevard," said Serena Debesa, whose direct way to get to her work is blocked, forcing her to go around, costing her an extra 15-20 minutes in traffic.

It's just a big inconvenience, especially when you are a multi-tasker, and you have a lot going on," she said.

City officials said there's a silver lining this week at the $1.2 million site, as key utilities like gas and phone lines, power and communications infrastructure, have been moved and put in the proper places to allow large concrete drainage sections to be put in to support the street.

Reportedly the extra work also sets the table to expand the roadway from two to four lanes in the future.

It's been a double whammy for motorists and commuters here in this area, with not just one road blocked off, but two.

A half mile up the canal, the road leading to the back part of Melbourne Square Mall collapsed around the same time last fall, creating congestion there as drivers have been forced to go around.

But city officials said that project is ahead of schedule and likely will be open before Dairy Road, where repairs are expected to wrap up by the end of May.

Any bit of good news is good for commuters like Debesa, who just wants the streets to get back to normal.

"They are doing the best they can,” she said.