VERO BEACH, Fla. — Nicole knocked out one side of a coastal road connecting to the Conn Beach Boardwalk after making landfall as a hurricane on the Treasure Coast early Thursday morning.
Residents said pieces of the street and boardwalk washed out by erosion down the stretch of Ocean Drive.
“A lot of gusty winds, but not too much damage that we saw compared to what we expected to actually happen,” said resident Derek Paul.
As Nicole moved away from Vero Beach after making landfall just south around 3 a.m., residents and city leaders returned to the site hours later.
“In 2004, it was a lot worse with Hurricane Jean and Francis,” said Paul. “Actually, part of this road was actually gone, and we could see the asphalt in the ocean.”
City officials said the damage sustained at Conn Beach Boardwalk along Ocean Drive is comparable to past storms.
“This is really similar to what happened back in 2016 with Hurricane Matthew,” said Vero Beach City Manager Monte Falls.
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The repairs for that storm costed the city over $360,000.
Falls said he applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to build a seawall after the back-to-back storms in 2004 but was denied.
“I'm surprised the boardwalk is still here, I'm glad the boardwalk is still here,” said resident Pauline Tessier. “A lot of people come here from around the neighborhood and elsewhere. I walk the boardwalk every day. I won’t be doing that for a while.”
The city's public works department has already placed concrete barriers at the end of every street leading to Ocean Drive to block cars.
The area is only open to foot traffic until this stretch of roadway can be repaired.