PAWLEY'S ISLAND, SC (WMBF) – For the first time since Hurricane Matthew, a popular beach access in Pawleys Island has reopened.
For those who live near or visit the beach access on the south end of Pawleys Island, it's not only a part of their everyday routine but also a piece of their family traditions.
Even on a Tuesday afternoon, the beach access was busy.
"There's quite a few people here," said Pawleys Island Police Cpl. Tracie Milligan, as she looked around the lot.
Fellow Ofc. Brian Folmer added residents would drive down to the access every day and try to get into the parking lot even when it was closed and the barricades were up.
That is why there were lines of cars pulling into the lot, each filled with people who were eager to return.
"Everyone can't wait to get back!" one woman screamed from the car window.
That includes Tony and Jackie Roessler, who enjoyed their go-to bike ride for the first time since Matthew hit almost four months ago.
"It's really nice," Tony Roessler said. "We always come up here and park the car and ride our bikes all the way to the other end."
However, what they see now is the extent of damage the south end sustained during the storm.
"Because just this, the way the island is made, I think it really got the brunt of the storm," Jackie Roessler said.
It is damage Pawleys Island officers said people would have had to see to believe.
"Wood, refrigerators from other people's houses, you had two to three feet of sand in the roadway," Folmer recalled. "You couldn't even drive down here."
The parking lot now has new and improved signage, cameras and wood to form each individual parking space.
While having the parking lot open in time for spring break is certainly a relief, construction crews remain hard at work getting the island back to its new normal.
Still, both police and residents on the island are happy with the progress so far.
"The kids grew up over here, and it's well worth while," Tony Roessler said. "And the police are patrolling it I see, and we appreciate everything they've done."