STUART, Fla. — The southbound span of the Roosevelt Bridge is on track to be reopened by the weekend of November 7, weather permitting.
The southbound lanes of the bridge have been close for more than four months. Crews doing a routine inspection in June found a piece of concrete had fallen from beneath the bridge. A subsequent inspection revealed severe corrosion inside the bridge, compromising the structure of the bridge and safety for drivers and pedestrians.
The Florida Department of Transportation said testing is still underway to determine the cause of the corrosion, but initial findings indicate water seeped through small cracks on the bridge decks over time. As a result, FDOT had its contractor seal the southbound lanes.
When the bridge reopens, the northbound and southbound lanes will be limited to two lanes of traffic so that crews can complete modifications to the median and seal the deck of the northbound lanes to be sure that corrosion and major closures do not happen again in the future.
Trucks will also be able to drive over the bridge, detours will be removed, and regular tolls on the Turnpike will be restored.
This is good news for nearby business owners, who have had to deal with longer commutes, more traffic, and inconveniences for customers.
Holly Wayt owns the Victorian Salon at the southern end of the bridge.
“We had two weeks of cancelations. Everybody living in Jensen or Port St Lucie, or St. Lucie West had to cancel and go to a salon on the northside of town,” Wayt said.
The detours also made it harder for her customers to get to their appointments.
“Our clients tend to get a little lost. They’ll drive around downtown, and it affects our appointments. They’re late, 15-20 minutes, but we just say it’s island time,” Wayt said.
She’s grateful the detours will be lifted in time for the start of the ‘season’ and the Stuart Air Show.
“We can’t wait for it to reopen.”
Representative Toby Overdorf said he remains in frequent contact with FDOT, and there are discussions about more frequent monitoring or inspections of the bridge in the future.