A washout on County Road 30A in South Walton County has a portion of the road closed and officials aren't sure when the road can be fixed permanently are concerned because the detour is nearly 15 minutes out of the way for some of them.
Connie Anders is a Property Owner in South Walton, and said, "Mother Nature is a fierce opponent and we can attempt to build beautiful homes and roads and what not but we are incapable of fighting Mother Nature, she is very strong and water can do huge amounts of damage."
And thanks to Mother Nature the portion of 30A over Draper Lake is closed and the damage is more than cosmetic. "We've done some patching over the last several years in this location, but there are a few things that are different this time, the soil under the road is very soft, that's one thing. Number two, the culverts do not appear to be flowing the water where they're supposed to. The water is obviously getting from one side of the bridge to the other but we aren't so sure where it's getting through", said Gregory Graham, the County Engineer.
Much of the sand from under the road has washed out, causing the road to cave in, but this problem didn't come as a surprise to officials. "Our infrastructure is outdated, some of them placed 20, 30, 40 years ago and we've been maintaining them but at some point we're going to need to upgrade them", said Walton County Commissioner Cindy Meadows.
And the much traveled portion of scenic highway 30-a may be closed for more than a week. "Just that we are trying to get the road back into passable conditions as quickly as possible, that's one of the reasons we are bringing in a temporary bridge. But may be a longer time period before we get an act of permanent repair", said Graham. "Of course we have the season upon us, so we will put a temporary bridge in so traffic can go to and from and then after the season is over is when we try to get all these infrastructure projects complete", added Commissioner Meadows.
But residents and officials can agree a closure like this is never fun but safety is their first priority. "It is upsetting because there's only one 30A, and there are only a handful of north south roads, and so anytime anything happens on 30A, it's not only an inconvenience for people but also for the businesses that look for the traffic for their business revenue", said Commissioner Meadows.
"Yea, it's impacting us and it's impacting everyone that's on this road, especially homeowners and businesses", added Anders. Public works crews are hoping to have the temporary bridge open by next Friday but say a permanent fix will come as soon as they get the money.