Lawsuit filed because of hurricane-damaged road in Alligator Point

Published: Apr. 10, 2019 at 6:38 PM EDT
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By: Lanetra Bennett I WCTV Eyewitness News

April 10, 2019

ALLIGATOR POINT, Fla. (WCTV) -- Hurricane Michael wiped out the main road of Alligator Point in Franklin County.

Six months later, it's still in disrepair.

Now, residents are taking action and are suing the Franklin County Commission.

Attorneys representing the residents say Alligator Drive has been a major problem for years.

Of course, Hurricane Michael added to the troubles.

The lawsuit is asking the court to force the county to take immediate measures to fix the road.

Attorney Louis J. Baptiste says Alligator Drive is eroded, and has been since Hurricane Dennis severely damaged the road back in 2005.

He says the county received FEMA funding to do minimum repairs, and the road was almost totally destroyed in 2016 from Hurricane Hermine.

Again, Baptiste says, minimum repairs were done.

He says it's time for the road to be hardened to be more storm-proof.

"When a small storm comes, that road is completely washed out. It's a one way, so now you have 700 homes with a lot more residents with children and mothers and fathers and hardworking people who are trapped in one of the most dangerous places to be during a storm, which is right on the side of the ocean," he said.

Baptiste says he fears that not fixing the road soon could eventually lead to deaths.

"With all the resources we have, we see a road that looks like it's in a third world country. It makes no sense, that with all the resources of Franklin County has, that they would leave these people and abandon these people. That's what they've done. They've abandoned these people, because when a storm comes, there's no help," he said.

Alan Pierce, the Restore Coordinator for Franklin County, says the county was unaware of the lawsuit.

Pierce said of the Alligator Drive project, “We are working as hard as we can.”

He says they’re doing what they can within the process laid out by FEMA.

“We’re all on the same page. We want the road fixed,” Pierce added.

Pierce says in the next County Commission meeting Tuesday, April 16th, the board will direct staff to prepare for bids to repair the road. They estimate opening bids on May 14th.

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