ANOTHER CRACKED BRIDGE: This time, in Florida

(Photo by Stephen B Calvert, via Wikimedia)

11:29 AM: Thanks to the WSB readers who have pointed this out: On the other side of the continent, a concrete bridge spanning a river has been closed because of cracking, and there are warnings that it’s in risk of collapse. This bridge is even newer than the closed-since-March West Seattle Bridge. It’s the southbound span of the Roosevelt Bridge, a mile-long, state-owned bridge that carries U.S. Highway 1 across the St. Lucie River in Stuart, Florida [map], and this webpage suggests it has a lot in common with our bridge – it’s a concrete “box girder” bridge, for example. Local media there report some concrete has fallen but the nature and risk of the crack is still under investigation; they also report the bridge was last inspected two years ago, with no problems found. It was built in the mid-’90s. The cracked span is closed to traffic, so the separate northbound span is currently handling both directions. P.S. This bridge also, like ours, replaced a drawbridge, and had a somewhat tumultuous backstory.

5:49 PM: Now both sides/spans of the Florida bridge are closed TFN.

8:23 PM: A couple other datapoints we found – the Florida bridge has about half the over-water clearance of ours, 65 feet, and more volume – 120,000 vehicles a day.

45 Replies to "ANOTHER CRACKED BRIDGE: This time, in Florida"

  • miws June 17, 2020 (11:46 am)

    I wonder if they have cranes on-site, ready to go, yet… —Mike

  • vincent June 17, 2020 (11:51 am)

    Well there goes any funding for the west seattle bridge, if a swing state needs one the cash is pretty much spoken for.

  • TSurly June 17, 2020 (12:10 pm)

    I’m sure the frequent SDOT critics we see on here will figure out a way to pin this on them as well.

    • West Seattle Hipster June 17, 2020 (12:53 pm)

      Kind of an odd statement.  But, it will be interesting to see how local leadership responds to the Florida bridge in comparison with our situation.

      • AdmiralSDV June 17, 2020 (10:21 pm)

        No, it’s not odd at all. Negative, maybe but pretty on the nose for the commenters around here. 

  • Matt P June 17, 2020 (12:31 pm)

    The increased traffic on the northbound for handling both directions may cause stress on that one that leads to cracking as well.

  • Kris June 17, 2020 (12:38 pm)

    Misery loves company :) 

  • Rico June 17, 2020 (12:54 pm)

    From the article:    “If they hadn’t built it, Stuart might still be a sleepy little city that no one would come to.”All in favor, say I.Maybe we just tear down the West Seattle Bridge and return to the sleepy part of the city . . 

    • John June 17, 2020 (1:20 pm)

      Fine by me! this summer alone it’ll be nice to see the decreased amount of people on Alki this summer. However I was pretty shocked when I took a late night drive recently and saw the share number of car is on the street because of all of the condos and apartments that have been put in down there that don’t have any parking.

      • john w June 18, 2020 (7:57 am)

         all of the condos and apartments that have been put in down there that don’t have any parking.”That is a simply false statement.

    • Seaweed June 17, 2020 (2:46 pm)

      Aye Aye!

    • West Seattle since 1979 June 17, 2020 (6:42 pm)

      What about all the West Seattleites who work in other parts of the city? 

    • Struggling Millennial June 18, 2020 (12:49 am)

      How about you consider the younger part of the population who work split shifts downtown and saved incredibly hard to be able to afford a house within a reasonable distance to the city? Yes, cutting off West Seattle and making our investments plummet and our commute unbearable is definitely the best idea. Thank you for that suggestion.

  • heartless June 17, 2020 (12:58 pm)

    What’s funniest to me is the comments in the WSB forum that earlier praised this exact bridge, pointing to it as an example of what we should strive for.  You just can’t make this stuff up.  

  • uncle loco June 17, 2020 (1:35 pm)

    Bummer, that’s the bridge I was using for my detour route.

    • ACG June 17, 2020 (2:56 pm)

      LOL!!  Thanks for the chuckle. 

    • Mok4315 June 17, 2020 (4:35 pm)

      Nice :)

  • Js June 17, 2020 (1:36 pm)


  • TJ June 17, 2020 (1:51 pm)

    Well you can guarantee that if both bridges need to be replaced (and keep in mind that many people on here have talked themselves into thinking our whole bridge needs to be replaced, forgetting the vertical columns are good and only the top sections would have to), that bridge in Florida will be done faster than ours. That area of Florida will not have the beaurcratic committees and studies that we do here and will expedite the rebuild, actually looking out for their residents.

    • Sevenless June 17, 2020 (2:37 pm)

      And just look at the longevity and value the prior lack of bureaucratic oversight and studies got them!

    • bolo June 17, 2020 (2:49 pm)

      Try again:

      “But creating the new bridge did not come easy. It took 15 years of public hearings and intense lobbying in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.”

  • Gone Fishing June 17, 2020 (2:10 pm)

    Let’s build a fishing pier under our new bridge too!

    • Glen S June 17, 2020 (3:59 pm)

      I fished under the bridge once.  Didn’t catch anything.   Was trying to catch a salmon one fall day.

  • Todd June 17, 2020 (2:53 pm)

    Interesting to stumble on this from Stuart Florida.  I was Googling to see if I could get home over the other span.  My home is 3 miles/<10 min away but it might be a ~12 mile/40min journey around with traffic for a while. 

    • WSB June 17, 2020 (5:10 pm)

      Good luck! We place highly in Google results for some reason. Hope your situation turns out to be less complicated than ours.

  • Jort June 17, 2020 (2:54 pm)

    Yet another example of the bill coming due for a society that foolishly went all-in on automobiles as its primary transportation method. This continues to be one of America’s greatest policy mistakes, and it will take decades and enormous amounts of pain to undo. As the rest of the world makes advancements in modern land use and transportation planning, we will be forever stuck digging ourselves out of the gigantic hole we’ve created for ourselves by pretending that automobiles could be a scalable, sustainable transportation method. We screwed up. The cost in human lives and injuries is already staggering; the financial burden will soon catch up to the human toll. 

  • BlairJ June 17, 2020 (3:14 pm)

    OK, the race is on! Which replacement bridge opens to traffic first?

  • Greg B. June 17, 2020 (4:06 pm)

    The florida one will be done sooner because the one in Seattle will need to  be much wider with  special lanes each for bicycles, motorized bicycles, joggers, strollers, busses, light rail, and maybe cars. 

  • Tom Anderson June 17, 2020 (4:42 pm)

    Good thing the Earth is flat and doesn’t spin or we’d regularly see a lot more bridges cracking all over the world!

  • TJ June 17, 2020 (5:20 pm)

    Actually Jort the automobile has been viewed as allowing the American way of life to grow. The suburbs were built which allowed people to realize the dream of home ownership. I know, some people think sprawl is bad for some reason and that people should forget a house with a yard and be forced into stacked boxes, but thankfully the vast majority of people don’t share those views. 

    • West Seattle since 1979 June 17, 2020 (6:48 pm)

      Sprawl is bad because it covers up more and more natural habitat. This is bad for the earth and contributes to global warming. 

    • heartless June 17, 2020 (8:24 pm)

      I mean, what 1979 said.  It’s not just that some people think sprawl is bad, it’s that sprawl is logically, provably bad.  As are yards, in their current lawn fetish state.  Whether or not you still want a house and lawn in the suburbs is up to you and the trade offs you are willing to make (or, in your case, perhaps ignore)–but to leave it as “some people think sprawl is bad” is either ignorant or disingenuous.  

  • Ugh June 17, 2020 (6:45 pm)

    This is bridge is a totally different type of construction.  Theirs is precast prestressed concrete segments, WSB is cast-in-place, post-tensioned segments.  Theirs is twelve years newer than WSF which would piss me off even more as a taxpayer. As for blaming Kiewit, it seems clear from indications to date that the 1970s design is at the root of the issue.  We know far more about the design and behavior of concrete structures now than we did in the late-70’s, much as we know far more today regarding seismic design and failure of steel and concrete structures.  We somehow eked out >18 years from our damaged AWV after the 2001 quake but couldn’t identify, effectively repair and salvage a year or two more from the WSB.

  • Js June 17, 2020 (6:59 pm)

    Fyi Ride the Duck is being auctioned next week. Whats everyone think? West Seattle amphibious fleet?

    • WSB June 17, 2020 (8:12 pm)

      They only carry 25 people each.

      • Js June 17, 2020 (8:37 pm)

        Well its a start.

  • Manny June 17, 2020 (7:42 pm)

    JORT. Your past comments have talked about knowing traffic because you DRIVE all over WS. Please explain your anti car trolls.

  • TJ June 17, 2020 (9:30 pm)

    Heartless, I have a house here in West Seattle, not in the suburbs. But we all know that there isn’t space here in the city for more houses, yet this is still the American dream for most young people out there. Those houses are being built out in the suburbs. I know. My company is tied in with new construction and I can tell you national building companies have bought up large swaths of land in northeast King County and in particular Snohomish counties where there are tens of thousands of houses to be built. While some people obviously want a urban life and want to live in these box apartments, it is a strange ignorant moral ground some people think they stand on by seeming to suggest houses are outdated and other people should be limited in their options. My previous post was more about addressing Jort’s continual troll anti car stance and how they are responsible for so many problems, when in fact they are noted in history for creating our way of life. And car ownership is never going to be a minority of the population, no matter what Jort thinks it “should” be

    • heartless June 18, 2020 (8:05 am)

      Yeah, I agree with most of what you said.  I also think people should be able to live in the suburbs if they want, have a large lawn, etc.  I think it’s worse for the world when people do that, but I certainly think they should be able to choose that.

      Jort is of course correct that cars are, as you put it, “responsible for so many problems,” but YOU are also correct that cars “are noted in history for creating our way of life.”  There is no conflict between those two statements.

      But I also stand by my earlier statements, that sprawl is bad for the world, and that was really the only point I wanted to make.  

  • Infill Please June 18, 2020 (9:47 am)

    TJ, I think that your use of repeated insertion of calling Jort a “troll” for contributing frequently and consistently about an issue, is wrong.  Agree or disagree,  Jort is presenting his opinion and supporting it with history you choose not to deny.Your defense is that the automobile  “ has been viewed as allowing the American way of life to grow.”  That is true and historically accurate.  But history shows no confirmation of the outcome being good, or even acceptable.  There is no viable denial that urban spread is harmful to our environment in ways never anticipated by all of us following and enjoying the American of life to grow into the suburbs,  exurbs and woodlands.  Many of our “Seattle as a suburb” neighborhoods like West Seattle, were limitedly developed once Seattle zoning was established.   We often shock visitors when we say we “live in the City” but our neighborhoods look similar to suburbs of the Midwest and East…quiet residential streets, expansive lawns, large SF 7,200 lot requirements. As developer living in West Seattle and commuting way eastward into our forests and hillside where the land is undeveloped and your projects extend the commutes and environmental impacts for eternity, I hope you are not developing any “boxy” houses.  Just the overly large sprawling neo-retro McMansions  with 4 car garages  so rare in Seattle.Anecdotally, I have noticed a resurgence of  gabled roof construction here in West Seattle, and with it predictions of the box house boom’s peak.  The box house’s popularity is a result of code changes and  the ability to create roof top decks, which add views and outdoor spaces compromised by the environmental need for density.TJ writes, “it is a strange ignorant moral ground” concerning peoples choice for housing and opposition to exurban sprawl, but that is TJ’s  job.  Outside the ‘bread &butter’ issue,  intelligent and moral  issues exist… There is an overwhelming consensus  among scientists that  Climate Change is threatening our world (no ignorant arguments, please).  And admitting this verified threat to human existence, do we have a moral obligation to address climate change?

  • Ant June 18, 2020 (10:33 am)

    Having grown up in FL with almost my entire family still in Stuart I can assure you that bridge likely carries about 10% of the volume the WS one does. Comparatively speaking that bridge has a shorter life with less use, I think it’s a win for our tax dollars here in Seattle. 

    • WSB June 18, 2020 (11:24 am)

      As noted above, FL news reports say 120,000 vehicles a day, more than ours at its peak.

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