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sharkstooth

Beach Lover
May 24, 2011
96
29
Very clear to a number of qualified people that the hole in the road could be fixed within two to three days. Does it make sense to leave the road closed for a minimum of eight months waiting for permits when the road could be reopened by next weekend? The hole in the road in not very close to the lake, could be baled and filled quickly. Why do 30 to 40 people (or more) need to lose their jobs in Grayton and Blue Mountain while Walton County waits on permits?
Also, still makes no sense that Road Closed signs are not at intersections, visitors are furious when they go through intersection and find they can't get through.
And Detour sign on 98W is gibberish, should say "Hwy 30A Blue Mountain Beach Next Left"

If 30A would have a big hole between Seagrove and WaterSound, it would have been repaired within days and the permanent fix would come later. But west end of 30A, is, red headed step child. Who is gonna stand up for us? Small businesses are gonna under. Walton county needs to fix this now! Do not divide 30A!
 

sharkstooth

Beach Lover
May 24, 2011
96
29
If 30A would have a big hole between Seagrove and WaterSound, it would have been repaired within days and the permanent fix would come later. But west end of 30A, is, red headed step child. Who is gonna stand up for us? Small businesses are gonna under. Walton county needs to fix this now! Do not divide 30A!

Oops, small businesses are gonna go under.
Lots of talk on the west end about laying off employees, and rumor mill, some shutting down.
 

Bdarg

Beach Fanatic
Jul 11, 2005
341
199
Point Washington
There is a lot of speculation and panic about the road failure on 30A between CR283 and CR83. I have seen a lot of photos and have seen the site in person. As a civil engineer I have dealt with similar situations over the years. Similar in the sense of slope failures, road failures, drainage failures and the need for designed solutions. Similar too in that there is the public outcry, rush to armchair solutions that were "common sense" and the attempts at pressuring the powers that be for politically imposed remedies to problems that really require engineered solutions.

While I am an engineer, I am not the engineer on this particular project, so I do not want to add another solution to the pile. I live in SoWal and I drive this section of road, but do not have a business on 30A. I am writing tonight because I feel for both the engineer and the business folks that have to deal with this situation. In this small community if I do not know them personally, I most likely know someone who does. I have concern that people do not understand the nature of road failures like this. I have concern that pushing for a quick patch will cause more harm down the road. Harm such as another washout during, or just prior to, tourist season as opposed to the one we have, which fortunately came just prior to the end of the summer tourist season. (Just think if it had come just prior to spring break).

As to the problem, the failure of this section of road is really more of a failure of a dam than a roadbed. The water had piled up and pushed on the north side of the embankment. The small culvert under the road was both too small and too clogged to handle the water. The water over topped the road and eroded the down stream side of the embankment undercutting the asphalt road. Roughly half of the road width washed away. The whole time that this was happening, the dam is being pushed on by the water on the north side of the road. There is a very good chance that what soil is left in place under the north side lane has been compromised.

The culvert that was there and has been there for 40 plus years, is undersized and being undersized was a good portion of the problem. Once it becomes clogged or blocked it is too dangerous to clear mechanically or by hand. The idea of just filling in the hole in the road and paving over the top neglects the fact that this section of road is really functioning as a dam and has been pushed out of place. If there were just a flat area with a drainage ditch on one side, that might be possible, however there is a fairly large lake on the upstream side of the road and the road is really a dam.

To repair it back to the way it was (undersize culvert and all) would require pulling most if not all of the fill material back out and re-compacting it. With that amount of effort you would want to replace the pipe at a bare minimum. I would hate to have the road out for any amount of time and leave a too small, 40+ year old pipe in the ground. So, you would want to replace the pipe and maybe up size it. Even if leaving a 40+ year old pipe in the ground doesn't bother you and you just want to fill the hole, you are probably talking in the neighborhood of 2 months to 3 months to do the work. What is accomplished if you shorten it to 2 or 3 months (i.e. roughly half the time to fix it properly btw)? What you would have accomplished is putting the failed road design back exactly as it was. Ready for more debris to clog the pipe and ready for the rain to over top again.

Installing a bridge on one side or the other of the existing road way? Quite frankly there is not enough room. You need about 28 ft of width minimum for the structure. Part of the equation is that you have to have a properly aligned road leading to and from the bridge, or culvert, in to provide for a safe and drivable road. There are many design standards that have to be met to provide the required level of safety.

Another thing is that as narrow as that section of road is, any temporary fix has to be within the footprint of the new bridge. So to construct the bridge would require taking the time to remove the temporary fix.

So, lets think about the time line for a bit. Temporary patch, figure at least 2 to 3 months to remove and repack the material. Then a week or so to repave at a cost of roughly $200,000 to $300,000. Then to perform the permanent fix would require a month or more to remove the patch, at an additional cost of $100,000 +/-. The permanent fix then cost $500,000 and takes about 2 months after all the permits are in place. So, using very rough numbers we are looking at about $300,000 in temporary fixes Those temp fixes would be complete about the same time the permits are complete. So, how much of a window of usable road? One, two, maybe 3 weeks of usable time before closing it off for the real fix (and who has been complaining about wasted tax dollars?). That is time could probably be better spent getting the site cleaned up and prepped for the real fix, thus possibly shorting the construction time on the permanent fix.

I have been critical of county government on many things. What I have seen so far on this incident has been pretty good. Granted the signage is a bit of a disaster currently, but a little rethought on the county's part and some positive suggestions on the local's part could go a long way to solving the detour marking problem. I am sure too that the preventive maintenance might not have been what it should, but who knew that we were going to have record rain falls the whole summer. Plus, quite literally it is water under the bridge.
In many ways we lucked out, it is the off season, so traffic is low. The snowbirds will be arriving soon and just might actually discover some new places when they go to rubber neck the giant hole in 30A.

I know it may be uncomfortable for many business owners. The rain this summer i am sure skewed the business counts one way or the other for all. But really what is the alternative. A quick short lived fix which will still take several months and leave that section of road at risk? A patch that will take up most, if not all, of the permitting time so that when the patched up road is ready to use, it will be time to tear it back out to do the real fix? Or to stay the course that the county is on currently, which is to fix it right as quickly as possible and to use their extra effort to try and expedite the planning, design and permitting process.

I feel sorry for all those impacted. I feel sorry to the point that I am really concerned they may be hoping for solutions that are not there, rather than planning for the reality that is. As my earth structures professor loved to say, "hope is not a plan".

Good luck to all involved. I am not sure that I have helped, but maybe I have provided a little insight into the engineer though process.

p.s. I plan not to spend much time on the remaining portion of asphalt especially the undercut portion and especially when it is raining or the water is up. Better safe than sorry and there is no telling how unstable that area may be.
 

sharkstooth

Beach Lover
May 24, 2011
96
29
Appreciate your expert input. But, still know if this happened on the east end of 30a, St Joe would be all over it and problem fixed, even if temporary.
 

Lake View Too

SoWal Insider
Nov 16, 2008
7,042
3,513
Eastern Lake
What "qualified people" said it could be fixed in three days? I agree that the signage is terrible. On the west side of hole is adequate, but sign flashes too fast. On east side there needs to be a sign at the intersection. I think they could do a much better job on the signage, perhaps even have the TDC make them better looking, stressing the unity of 30-A.
 

Matt J

SWGB
May 9, 2007
22,421
2,604
Thus far the only businesses threatening to lay people off or close aren't exactly the best experiences on the west end of 30A. While some businesses are taking this in stride and have said, in fact, this is the best summer they've ever had despite all the rain; others seem to need a crutch to blame for bad management, horrible customer service, bad food, or just an overall dismal experience.
 

Lake View Too

SoWal Insider
Nov 16, 2008
7,042
3,513
Eastern Lake
That's completely uncalled for. Nobody tries to make an "overall dismal performance". And it's a struggle for everyone to keep a business going along 30-A, under any circumstance. Let's try to escape from the "entitlement mentality", shall we?
 

Andy A

Beach Fanatic
Feb 28, 2007
4,403
1,730
Blue Mountain Beach
Here is the latest on the opening of 30A. It is now being said that a Bailey bridge will be constructed to allow passage of vehicles until permitting can be obtained to complete a permanent fix. A Bailey bridge was invented during WWII by the British and used extensively. It is capable of supporting tanks. Construction will take place in the very near future, hopefully.
 

Zebraspots

Beach Fanatic
May 15, 2008
840
247
Santa Rosa Beach
Thus far the only businesses threatening to lay people off or close aren't exactly the best experiences on the west end of 30A. While some businesses are taking this in stride and have said, in fact, this is the best summer they've ever had despite all the rain; others seem to need a crutch to blame for bad management, horrible customer service, bad food, or just an overall dismal experience.
Or are known for their great customer service and are 30a institutions.
 

Kurt Lischka

Admin
Staff member
Oct 15, 2004
12,457,776
4,555
SoWal
mooncreek.com
From Louis E. Svehla



At this time, the District 5 Road Crew is backfilling the area where the road collapsed. They are also working to check the culvert to see if it can be repaired. The plan is to move forward with repairing the road to reopen it as soon as possible. If it is found that the culvert is not able to be repaired, the plan is to put a temporary bridge over that area.


As this is moving forward, the County is moving forward to obtain the necessary permits and work on design for a permanent bridge that would be constructed there in the future. As you may be aware the permitting process can be lengthy so in the issuance of being able to open the road to the public, this seems like the best option. Once permits have been established and the design process has been completed, it will be decided when to re-close that section of road for construction.


While crews work to reopen that section as soon as possible, it will not be reopened until it is deemed safe.


Hopefully we will know on Monday whether the culvert will be repaired or a temporary bridge will be installed.




Louis E. Svehla
Public Information Manager
Walton Board of County Commissioners
76 North 6th Street
DeFuniak Springs, FL 32435
Phone: 850-951-7101
 
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