Walkers, joggers and bike riders going down A1A in Fort Lauderdale come to a point north of Sunrise Boulevard where concrete barriers, barricades, scattered sand and caution tape block their path.
That’s because the four-block stretch — between Northeast 14th and 17th courts — was destroyed by the combination of powerful swells from Hurricane Sandy, a full moon and seasonal high tides in October and November.
Now, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, the Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection have teamed up for an emergency fix to the several-block stretch.
“We all got together and tried to figure out something that would work in the short term,” said Eric Myers, natural resources administrator for Broward County, saying erosion has taken a toll on that stretch of beach. “A1A is an important connector road and something had to be done.”
Work will begin in January and is expected to take a few months.
The area — the lowest of the city’s 5-mile stretch along the beach — was “wiped out’’ by Mother Nature, Myers said.
Currently, huge cracks mar the asphalt and huge palm trees lay prostrate on the ground.
The plan is to clean up the area, add some sand to the beach and re-stripe that portion of A1A. Barricades block two of the road’s four lanes.
The Florida Department of Transportation has already done some work in the area, but the project in January will stabilize the street, said spokeswoman Barbara Kelleher.
Metal sheet pilings will be installed at least 40 feet in the ground to help serve as a barrier between the beach and the street.
“It will help stop the erosion,” Kelleher said.
In the long term, Fort Lauderdale will undergo a beach renourishment program in 2013.
This year’s weather patterns were tough on beaches across South Florida.
Miami Beach also saw water flowing onto busy Alton Road in October and November. A state project to help keep Alton from flooding is due to begin, too, said city spokeswoman Nanette Rodriguez.
Meteorologist Dan Gregoria with the National Weather Service in Miami said this year was particularly bad because “it was one thing after another.”
Gregoria said in recent weeks the high waves have calmed down, and they don’t expect to see tides rise too high until March.
That’s good news for tourists and residents and city leaders who are hoping the emergency solution will tide them over until something long term is done.
“We are Canadians, we are snowbirds who bought a house here four years ago because of this beautiful beach,” said Jery Biderman, who is from Toronto, and often goes to the beach when he is in town. “When we saw this, we wanted to cry. Just to find this beautiful area harmed like this feels bad.”