A1A rehab hurting businesses in Flagler Beach

It's been nearly three years since Hurricane Matthew slammed Flagler Beach, collapsing a stretch of A1A.

Just a single northbound lane is open while the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) continues to repair the damage, and it will stay that way through the holiday weekend.  Businesses on the street say FDOT can't finish this project soon enough.

“It just makes it very difficult to run and operate a business with all the different challenges that we face, especially after one hurricane,” said John Lulgjuraj, who owns Oceanside Bar & Grill. “It doesn't matter how much marketing dollars I put into saying we're open, there's challenges getting to Flagler Beach, to our business.”

Local business leaders want locals and tourists to know businesses along the beach are also accessible from the back. While A1A is open northbound, Central Avenue -- one block west -- is open for southbound traffic, and your best bet to reach these shops and restaurants.

“Because of the hurricanes in the past, people think Flagler is shut down, and it's not. As you can see, they have their struggles, but they're still very accessible to the businesses,” said Jorge Gutierrez, from the Flagler Chamber of Commerce.

Lulgjuraj says Memorial Day weekend is one of their most important.

“We're praying for good weather, and that people will go through the small detour to come back to this business again,” he said, “we need the spark, the love from the community.”

FDOT says the A1A rehab is costing more than $22 million and should be done before the end of 2019.