Signs and orange barricades bar access to Henry Robinson Boardwalk after the surge from Tropical Storm Irma earlier this week damaged the popular attraction in Port Royal.
The rising water from Battery Creek shoved a large section of the walkway into the marsh, leaving only the pilings protruding from the mud.
The town plans to move quickly to repair the boardwalk, where locals fish, crab and climb the observation tower at sunset. Work begins next week with demolishing and removing the damaged pieces, town manager Van Willis said.
The initial estimate for the work is about $130,000 but could be more, Willis said. Port Royal will file an insurance claim and plans to be reimbursed for at least some of the cost.
The town received estimate from a contractor who has previously worked on the structure. The plan is to replace the concrete sections used for the walkway with wood to allow water to flow through so that a similar surge would not lift away the material as easily.
Willis said the emergency nature of the damage — with the broken pieces in the marsh creating a safety and environmental hazard — allows the town to secure a contractor outside of the typical required procurement process.
Despite the obvious disrepair and affected function, people were still compelled to stroll on the boardwalk this week before being escorted away.
“We can’t account for human stupidity,” Willis told Port Royal Town Council on Wednesday.