A Florida bridge has been temporarily closed and boats were stopped from sailing under it after officials discovered a crack and warned of its “imminent collapse.”
On Wednesday, authorities received a report that “portions of concrete fell off the Roosevelt Bridge” and on to the Dixie Highway in Stuart, Florida, according to a statement shared by the Stuart Police Department.
The Florida Department of Transportation is inspecting the bridge Wednesday, and in the meantime, the southbound side of the bridge has been closed, leaving only the northbound side open to vehicles, police said. Authorities warned of heavy delays and urged drivers to use alternative routes to the bridge, which crosses the St. Lucie River.
The U.S. Coast Guard began warning boaters early Wednesday to avoid traveling under the bridge, according to NBC affiliate WTPV.
“All stations, all stations, this is the United States Coast Guard Center Miami, Florida. All vessels are required to keep clear of the new Roosevelt Bridge until further notice, due to the risk of imminent collapse,” said a message to boaters.
Sources from NBC News state that a tweet later from the U.S. Coast Guard Southeast said a safety zone had been established “stopping any commercial maritime traffic from transiting under the Roosevelt Bridge.” The bridge was built in 1996, NBC Miami reported.
In April, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, an infrastructure investment advocacy group, reported using federal data that almost 231,000 American bridges more than a third need repair or should be completely replaced.
“Our bridge network is underfunded and should be modernized. State and local government just haven’t been given the necessary financial resources to fully address the problem,” ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black, who led the team conducting the analysis, said in a statement at the time