Roosevelt Bridge: Crumbling Infrastructure?

“Crumbling” is a bit of an overstatement. The Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart, Florida has stood for 24 years, and it needs serious work. The bridge was built in 1996, and carries U.S. Highway 1 (US 1). Florida bridge in danger of “imminent collapse”

Early on the Coast Guard said that it was in imminent danger of collapse, but that appears to have been overstated.

Unfortunately, there are not any good photos of this bridge. It is a box-girder bridge made of precast concrete with 40 piers. It isn’t very interesting to look at. You can find a Wikimedia Commons image at this link. But I can’t really recommend it.

In June of this year, during a regular inspection, cracks and corrosion were found in the bridge. Both the northbound and southbound spans were closed, and Dixie Highway which travels under the bridge was also closed. The northbound span was reopened at the end of June, carrying traffic in both directions, and Dixie Highway was opened on July 3rd.

If there is any good news, it is that repairs didn’t cost as much as originally estimated. Southbound Roosevelt Bridge could be open to motorists as soon as October.

The estimate to design and repair the southbound Roosevelt Bridge is $9.3 million, said Beth Frady, FDOT’s communications director. She said the amount could change if extra work is needed that wasn’t previously found or if weather causes delays or problems.

The initial estimate was for more than twice that amount.

Now Stuart is right on the Atlantic Ocean, and the water of St Lucie River at the point where this bridge stands is saltwater. Saltwater is hard on concrete and steel. (Rust Never Sleeps is not just the name of a Neil Young/Crazy Horse album.) But they knew that when the bridge was designed and built. The Indian River Bridge on Florida Route A1A, which is a bascule bridge in Fort Pierce, about 10 or 20 miles north of the Roosevelt Bridge, was built in 1963, and it is still operating, though it is listed in Poor Shape overall, getting a score of 49.9 out of 100. It does still “open on request” for boats using the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway. So you can build infrastructure to last in that environment.

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