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Litchfield Beaches: Rusted nails cited as cause of walkway collapse

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Repairs were completed Monday on a portion of a walkway at Litchfield Beach that collapsed Friday. The local property owners association was in the middle of its annual inspection of 22 walkways at Litchfield and North Litchfield.

“This is an example of why LBPOA should get the accommodations tax it gets,” said County Council Member John Thomas, the past president of the Litchfield Beaches Property Owners Association. “We can get it done a lot quicker.”

A couple with their two children were at the beachfront end of Walkway 65 on Norris Drive at the intersection with Chesterfield Lane when a 10-foot section of the walkway collapsed. No one was injured. The wife told Thomas, “it just happened to be that all four people were walking on it at the same time.”

“She was good-natured about it,” Thomas said.

The association gets funds from Georgetown County accommodations tax grants to maintain and repair the walkways, which are owned by the county. “We do anticipate that work needs to be done at this time of the year,” said Ladd Dezendorf, the association president. “We had a big list last year. We have a big list this year.”

But most of the work involves replacing nails that popped up in the decking and rails, he said.

Thomas leads the association committee in charge of walkway repair and maintenance. At Walkway 65, he said it looked like the nails that attached the joist to a cross-member rusted and snapped. “This was something you really can’t see,” he said.

The inspections now look for rusting nail heads and the association’s contractor will reinforce any that are found, Thomas said.

The association once pressed Georgetown County to budget for walkway replacements, but Thomas said that since he joined council he realizes that isn’t necessary.

“The cost of replacing a walkway isn’t enough for the county to budget for,” he said.

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