Hundreds of feet of cement barriers lay buried Tuesday night in Fort Lauderdale Beach, which they are meant to be protecting. The seawall has been snapped into pieces as high tides, intensified by a full moon, whipped waves against the new shoreline.
Mother Nature has redesigned the layout of the beach, moving it closer to busy A1A – and local resident Brian Johnson was having a hard time getting his head around it.
"Unfathomable – I can't believe it's gone,” he said. “I mean, there's 30 yards of beach that are gone now."
He and his wife Candace should know. The newlyweds used part of the beach as a romantic backdrop for their engagement photos. But one palm tree they leaned against in the pictures is gone, and the lifeguard stand where they posed had to be moved.
"I mean that's all we have to look at and remember those,” Candace Johnson said of the photos.
For days now, travel along A1A has been limited, with only one lane open in each direction from NE 14th Court to NE 17th Court.
"Traffic's ridiculous as it is, so it’s only going to get worse,” Johnson said.
The Florida Department of Transportation has installed plastic barriers to keep vehicles from getting too close east. Residents know any long-term solution will be costly and time-consuming. The mayor plans to reclaim the beach with a long-term renourishment plan.
"They cannot fix this in two weeks three weeks or a month,” local resident Baba Pearson said. “It’s going to take quite a long time for them to fix – wake-up call."