'We're practically stranded': Hurricane Irma batters small island community

Get ready for an hour and a half commute due to the Browns Creek Bridge closing.

Hurricane Irma battered the First Coast making it difficult to access different parts of town, especially Fanning Island.

The small community found themselves having to drive an extra 40 minutes to an hour out of their way just to get gas, food or go to work. For those who live in Mayport, getting to the island was quite the headache.

"There's only three ways off of the island and two of them are gone: Browns Creek Bridge and the St. John’s County ferry," said resident Cliff Payne.

Payne’s home survived the storm, but his dock was torn apart. We were there when he found it on the shore near the ferry.

Payne said he had to replace the dock after Hurricane Matthew last year.

“I have to do it again, I can't get to my boat," Payne said.

At the Sandollar Fish Camp restaurant next door, the restaurant sat empty.

"We're sort of stranded," said manager Lee Smith.

The restaurant escaped Irma’s wrath with only minimal damage. For that, Smith said he was grateful, but he was unable to open the restaurant because like several of their employees, many of the restaurants customers come from across the river in Mayport.

The customers usually takes the ferry, but it shut down before the storm. According to JTA the ferry moved to Green Cove Springs to avoid getting damaged. The ferry was scheduled to be in operation Thursday after an inspection.

As for emergencies, JFRD Station 40 said it has crews on the other side of Browns Creek Bridge on standby.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment