Cape Coral residents still dealing with hurricane damaged seawalls

Hurricane season is less than two months away and some people are still recovering from Hurricane Irma.

Cape Coral residents are still dealing with cracked, damaged seawalls.

“This is damage from Irma,” said Cape Coral resident Colleen Owens. “Our seawall, it’s pretty much damaged all the way.”

The seawall damage has restricted her from walking all the way to her canal.

“If we have another storm, this is gonna be a canal,” Owens said.

While Owens does have a contractor and permit ready to fix her seawall, she’s patiently waiting for her turn.

“I can’t let people cut in line just because it’s convenient for me,” said Williamson Bros Marine Construction co-owner Jimmy Williamson.

Williamson is one of only a handful of seawall contractors in Lee County. Williamson says eight months after Irma, he still has a list of people he is trying to get to.

“When we first started signing contracts, we told people four to six months,” Williamson said. “But, by the end, it wasn’t a realistic goal.”

Williamson says he now has three barges with crews working on three sites in Lee County. While that’s helping speed things up, he says the process of repairing these seawalls takes time.

“From the moment we break ground, it takes four weeks,” Williamson said. “We put the panels in, sod and electric equipment.”

Most areas in Cape Coral got 10-inches of rain during Hurricane Irma.

Williamson says all seawalls in Southwest Florida got some damage during the storm, but it isn’t always obvious.

“It can be as little as a crack that you see there on the seawall cap,” Williamson said. “It’s the beginning of a problem. Don’t wait until your seawall is 20 feet from your swimming pool.”

There are ways to prevent your seawall damage getting worse, like recapping the top of your seawall. It’s recommended that all seawalls around 50 to 60 years old get an inspection.

“All walls are going to come down, like all roofs will come down,” Williamson said. “Nothing last forever.”

Williamson says the rainy season will slow him down, and that he probably won’t finish all of his repairs until next year.

Writer:Emily Ford
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