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Crumbling Roosevelt Bridge received high grades during 2018 inspection

FDOT to test bridge materials used in 1997 construction
Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart
Posted at 6:56 PM, Jun 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 19:07:01-04

STUART, Fla. — Four lanes of the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart reopened Saturday after chunks of concrete fell from the structure earlier this month.

The Florida Department of Transportation recently announced they will test the concrete from the Roosevelt Bridge. This comes after FDOT released its 2018 inspection of the bridge, which showed it received high grades.

The 2018 inspection shows crews spend 40 hours looking at the bridge and found it to be in good shape.

So, how did it deteriorate to the point where the bridge had to be closed for a short spell, and traffic is still limited?

The first page of the 58-page inspection obtained by Contact 5 finds inspectors gave the Roosevelt Bridge a "sufficiency rating" of 97.8 and a “health index” of 96.22. Those are high grades for a safety and durability test that are well above the numbers needed for the state to even consider the bridge for major repairs.

But that inspection two years ago did find concerns, including paint peeling on parts of the bridge and "longitudinal cracks" on the driving surface.

The report said divers noticed "exposed steel" at the bridge's support pilings, though considered it "only minor corrosion," that was repaired quickly.

After concrete chunks dropped from the bridge June 16, and growing cracks appeared, the bridge was closed.

Right now, the northbound bridge has converted to two-way traffic while the southbound side remains closed while it undergoes repairs.

Tractor-trailers weighing more than five tons are banned from the bridge, but the Florida Department of Transportation still has not determined the cause of the concrete erosion. The agency may be looking back beyond the 2018 inspection to the concrete used in the bridge's construction in 1997.

In an email sent to Contact 5, an FDOT spokesperson writes, it "continues to send samples to the FDOT laboratory in Gainesville to analyze the bridge materials and assist in identifying the cause of the issues."

FDOT did not say how long its investigation of the bridge materials will take or how long traffic on the Roosevelt Bridge will remain restricted.

Below is the full 2018 inspection report for the bridge: