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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Coast Guard OKs three-week closing of St. Lucie River bridge while Brightline makes repairs

NewsCoast Guard OKs three-week closing of St. Lucie River bridge while Brightline makes repairs

STUART — The channel through the St. Lucie River railroad bridge in downtown Stuart will be closed to boaters for 21 days starting May 1. The U.S. Coast Guard approved the closure proposed by Brightline, which says the closure is needed to renovate the 98-year-old bridge.

What happened

  • U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Brendan McPherson told Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fort Pierce, in a letter on Friday that the agency is allowing Brightline to move forward with the 21-day closure.
  • Mast on Jan. 19 requested an analysis on the economic impacts of the closure. The Coast Guard, McPherson said, “conducted extensive outreach to our local, state and federal maritime partners” and “engaged with local marine interests to include evaluating concerns of local marinas and the Marine Industries Association Treasure Coast.”

Why it matters:

  • Marine navigation be impeded for three weeks at local and state levels. Access to the Okeechobee Waterway, which bisects Florida between Stuart and Fort Myers, will be blocked.
  • This keeps Brightline on track to begin passenger-rail service this year between West Palm Beach and Orlando International Airport.

What they said

  • Mspanst: “It never stops. This is going to be a major disruption to hundreds of boaters who rely on access to the Intracoastal, not to mention have a huge impact for businesses on both sides of the bridge. I find it hard to believe that this was the best that Brightline could do. Instead, it’s just forced our community to pick the lesser of two evils.”
  • McPherson: “The Coast Guard remains dedicated to our responsibility of protecting the rights of navigation on our nation’s navigable waters and understands that any obstruction to those waterways is impactful. We also remain mindful of potential unplanned impacts of neglected maintenance of bridges which intersect our waterways.”


  • Brightline proposes new Stuspanrt bridge closure dspantes to spanccommodspante bospanters, businesses
  • Brightline closure in Stuspanrt to crespante detours on Dixie Highwspany, Decker Avenue
  • Brightline resumes 110 mph trspanin testing in St. Lucie, Mspanrtin counties

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