A 1.3-mile chunk of State Road A1A in Flagler Beach collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean last week as Hurricane Matthew — a category 3 storm as it skirted past the small beach town along Florida's east coast — roared north with fierce winds and driving rain.
- About 1.3 miles of SR A1A in Flagler Beach damaged during Matthew
- State transportation officials said repairs could cost about $35 million
- Repairs could take 6-12 months depending on scope of work
- Read the latest Hurricane Matthew news and information
- RELATED: Flagler County estimates $72 million in damages
Large pieces of asphalt crumbled from the scenic highway and eventually were washed away from the shoreline by the Atlantic's waves. The beach remains closed to the public.
The recovery process across the county is already underway, but it will take some time to get A1A back open to vehicle traffic.
The stretch of damaged highway extends from South 9th Street to South 22nd Street in Flagler Beach.
Current cost estimates, which are subject to change as the scope of the project is developed, are $35 million, according to Steve Olson, a spokesman with the Florida Department of Transportation. The costs are design- and construction-related.
The money could come from both state and federal funds.
Repairs are estimated to take six to 12 months, Olson said, adding that time estimates are subject to change.
"Construction calls for rebuilding the roadway and constructing a protective wall on the east side, utilizing sheet piling similar to what is in place on a section along the existing roadway — which was the only section that withstood the storm," Olson said in an email Tuesday night.
Transportation officials will work with other agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, during the permitting, design and construction process, Olson said.
Detours in the area currently use local roads, but the state is examining further options for traffic control.
Olson said the Department of Transportation, as well as local government officials, will assess the number of businesses affected by the A1A road closure.
John Lulgjuraj, owner of Oceanside Beach Bar and Grill, said his business sustained about $45,000 in damage during Hurricane Matthew. Lulgjuraj also estimates about $60,000 in lost sales from being closed during the storm.
Oceanside is between South 18th Street and South 19th Street, so the closure is impacting the restaurant.
"It's a scary situation, especially with a newborn 5-day-old (child)," Lulgjuraj said Tuesday. "We get new customers literally every day just cruising the coast, and we are not sure what to expect."
Oceanside reopened Tuesday morning, and Lulgjuraj said he's staying positive.
"Flagler Beach always comes together and supports each other," he said. "Our regulars are like family, and they will keep us supported — and we will support them — during these times."