STUART, Fla. — The Florida Department of Transportation gave WPTV a close-up look at the work that has been completed on the southbound lanes of the Roosevelt Bridge, set to reopen to drivers next weekend.
Fixing severe corrosion on the southernmost end of the bridge was a priority to the state.
FDOT District 4 Secretary Gerry O’Reilly said the work they were able to complete through a collaborative project in 5 to 6 months typically could take years.
“I’ve been involved in plenty of big projects. It’s one of the most impressive for teamwork,” O’Reilly said.
In June, a piece of concrete fell from the southern end of the bridge. An inspection found corrosion that prompted the immediate closure of the southbound lanes of the bridge.
“We found minor issues throughout other places of the bridge. The one at span 1 was enough corrosion that the wires broke, you could see it from the outside,” O’Reilly explained.
That corrosion was addressed and fixed early in the project.
The final work being completed now addresses the solution to make sure the corrosion doesn’t happen again.
O’Reilly said small cracks were discovered in the concrete decks. Water, over time, was seeping through those cracks and reaching the internal structure.
FDOT is sealing the entire deck of the southbound lanes, before painting the yellow lines and reopening the road to drivers the weekend of November 7, weather permitting.
The northbound lanes will also be sealed by the new year, O’Reilly said.
"Sealing this stops any water from getting in,” O’Reilly said. The sealant will also make the road sound quieter to drive over.
FDOT also took advantage of the road being closed to lengthen the turning lane into downtown Stuart, where backups were common.
Medians will be added back after the road reopens.
There are still tests underway to make sure FDOT understands everything that may have contributed to the corrosion.
“We want every bridge to be as safe as it can possibly be.,” O’Reilly said. “The state is now looking at every segmental bridge for the purpose to see, with the knowledge we’ve gained from this bridge and what happened, we don’t want that to happen anywhere else,” O’Reilly said.