Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Highway A1A Redesign Project

After Hurricane Sandy washed out a segment of the state highway, the Florida Department of Transportation (“FDOT”) and the City of Fort Lauderdale rebuilt a portion of the A1A highway (“A1A”) to be more resilient to future coastal hazards. The redesigned highway segment incorporates several different features that will increase the highway’s resilience to future flooding and erosion and will also make the city more walkable and bikeable:

  • The beach fronting the roadway was nourished by Broward County, extending the beach 30 to 35 feet to provide natural flood protection from flooding and erosion at a cost of $1.5 million. As of spring 2016, the County had completed a second stage of beach renourishment and constructed vegetated dunes, which have proven effective for erosion control.
  • FDOT improved the existing dune system along the southern half of the project by filling in several gaps in order to increase erosion control protection.
  • Although the highway was rebuilt in the same location because it provides the only source of access for over 150 homes, the roadway was reduced from four to two lanes and the seaward (eastern) edge of the pavement was elevated.
  • A decorative sea wall was built to cover 44-foot deep sheet pilings that were driven into the ground to protect 2400 linear feet of the roadway. The sea wall, which is structurally supported by the sheet pile, adds additional resistance to encroaching water and helps prevent sand deposition from the beach onto the roadway.
  • A wide beachfront walkway will be installed with paver bricks next to the sea wall, and bike paths will be constructed on either side of the roadway.
  • Center turn lanes and a vegetated median will also be installed.
  • A new underground drainage system will be installed and underground utilities were relocated.
  • Traffic signal controllers will be raised off the ground to help prevent damage from flooding.
  • Decorative turtle-friendly lighting was installed along the pedestrian walkways.

FDOT took the lead in designing and constructing the project, including determining the new height of the road and increase in the elevation of the seaward edge. Throughout the project, FDOT worked closely with the City of Ft. Lauderdale Transportation and Mobility Department, which provided input on many design features of the reconstructed road. 

State Highway A1A runs along Florida’s Atlantic oceanfront. A segment of the highway (between Sunrise Boulevard and Northeast 18th Street) along Fort Lauderdale’s oceanfront was damaged in 2012 during Hurricane Sandy and subsequent storms. Erosion of the beach fronting A1A and flooding undermined and caused the collapse of a four-block portion of the highway running along the eastern edge of the city. 

The total project cost to rebuild the A1A was $20.1 million, which was provided by the state, although the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization authorized the use of discretionary spending for bike, pedestrian, and aesthetic purposes. Construction began on July 28, 2014 and was completed December 23, 2015. FDOT planned to spend an additional $1 million for landscaping along the roadway.


This Adaptation Clearinghouse entry was prepared with support from the Federal Highway Administration. This entry was last updated on May 17, 2016.


Publication Date: December 2015

Related Organizations:

  • Florida Department of Transportation
  • City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Related Toolkits:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Best practice

States Affected:


Go To Resource