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Flagler Bridge malfunctions cause headache for people who rely on it to get to, from Palm Beach

Posted: 5:32 PM, Aug 06, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-07 15:36:26Z

The Flagler Bridge that connects people between West Palm Beach and Palm Beach has once again malfunctioned, causing a 2-hour shutdown and forcing people to find an alternative route on Sunday. 

“There is no advice from the tower and bridge closer. We were stuck for 20 minutes. You know they should tell the people,” said Sant Ambbroeus chef Marco Barbisotti. 

Barbisotti relies on the Flagler Bridge to get to work every day on Palm Beach. On Sunday, he was one of the people stuck at the base of the bridge after a malfunction caused the bridge to close for nearly 2 hours starting at 9:20 a.m. Sunday. 

"I call Uber and I have to take a different bridge,” said Barbisotti. 

This isn't the first time the bridge has malfunctioned. In fact, since reopening last summer after more than $100 million renovation the bridge has been forced to shut down more than 20 times. The chronic breakdowns were first reported Friday by our news partners at  The Palm Beach Post .

“They spent so much time working on it and it’s caused such a detour and traffic and congestion,” said Theodore Pratt. 

PCL, the bridge's current contractor, said Sunday's breakdown was due to a limit switch arm that became loose and moved out of position.  

The town of Palm Beach notified residents via Twitter about the temporary closure. However for people who don't follow the town's Twitter page they were stuck wondering what was going on. 

"I think it affects business because it disrupts time if you have to go to work at a certain time and you’re stuck for 40 minutes it’s an issue,” said Barbisotti. 

The contractor, PCL, tells WPTV it has been paying for the operation and maintenance of the bridge since May 8, 2018, which cost approximately $40,000 per month. They will continue to pay for this until the project receives final acceptance.

PCL said the state has extended the bridge's operational testing period until October 4, 2018. The state is expected to take over operational control from PCL after a 60-day period with no malfunctions.