Seawall project underway in Fort Lauderdale where erosion ate away at A1A

Huge sheet pilings to protect A1A from waves

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Relaxing on Fort Lauderdale Beach between NE 14th Court and 18th Street is impossible.

Crews are forcing 44-foot long sheet piling into the ground, every inch is ear-piercing. You can't help but stop to watch, and maybe cover your ears. 

Those who live within earshot say it's an obnoxious blessing.

"It's unfortunate that this happened but at least the city is working to help us out and make a beautiful place for us to live," says Maryann Vondertann, who lives right across the street.

Starting with Hurricane Sandy waves eroded away sand, then sidewalk, and by Thanksgiving parts of A1A itself. FDOT says one-half mile of sheet piling will protect the road for at least 50 years. 

"Once we get the sheet piling in place then we'll come back in and fill the roadside of those areas that were washed away. And pave that area," says Barbara Kelleher, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation.

Next year a decorative seawall will be built to cover the pilings. But for now, it's more about function than esthetics.

"Compared to Montreal this is heaven. I don't mind, if it has to be done, then it has to be done," says Lou Dubuc, who is staying across the street for the winter.

In the meantime A1A will remain just one lane in either direction. Next year FDOT hopes to add a center turning lane.

This $8.3 million project is expected to be complete by the end of March. Broward County will start re-nourishing the beach with sand in March, to extend it out approximately another 35 feet.

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