Home News Brightline will close Stuart drawbridge to St. Lucie River boat traffic for 3 weeks

Brightline will close Stuart drawbridge to St. Lucie River boat traffic for 3 weeks

Brightline will close Stuart drawbridge to St. Lucie River boat traffic for 3 weeks

Brightline plans to close the railroad bridge over the St. Lucie River in Stuart for three weeks beginning April 11, and periodically at night before and after that, according to a nonprofit marine industries trade organization.

The company, which is awaiting Coast Guard approval on its proposed bridge closure, plans to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to prepare the area for its high-speed passenger train service from Miami to Orlando, according to the Mspanrine Industries Associspantion of the Trespansure Cospanst.

According to the proposed plan, the bridge is scheduled to be closed to boat traffic from 6 a.m. April 11 through 6 a.m. May 2. The bridge will also be closed to boat traffic at night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. on:

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Brightline has announced a 21-day closure at the bridge to boat traffic in April 2023. Work is already underway including adding a safety railing to the 1926 built structure.

  • March 5 through March 16
  • May 2 through May 8
  • May 22 through May 28

Brightline did not respond to TCPalm’s requests to confirm the information it received from the marine association.

The association warned its member businesses and the boating public about the bridge closure in a Jan. 25 email, which also complained that Brightline claims it has no choice, although it did similar work on the Loxahatchee railroad drawbridge without closing it. Brightline has said the work on the Stuart bridge is different than the work it performed on the Loxahatchee River bridge last year.

There are over 16,000 registered vessels in Martin County and an additional 12,000 registered vessels in St. Lucie County. The bridge closure would impact all commercial marine traffic using the cross-state Okeechobee Waterway and all recreational boaters who use marinas, docks, boat yards or launch ramps along the South Fork or North Fork of the St. Lucie River in Port St. Lucie, Palm City, western Martin County or south Stuart.

The association cited a draft work plan Brightline sent it to explain why the company needs to close the bridge:

“Work includes drilling new rack attachment holes in the existing counterweight. Bridge must be in the down position to drill the holes. Holes must be drilled in advance of the navigation outage in order to limit duration to 21 days,” the work plan says. “Tuning work includes making final adjustments to the span, machinery and control system and performing final balance of the bascule leaf. … Work includes supporting the bascule leaf on falsework, machining all four trunions in place, installation of new trunnion towers and bearings, removal and replacement of all mechanical drive machinery, and installation of a new control system. The machining of the trunions and replacement of the mechanical drive machinery render the bridge inoperable, so once work begins the bridge must remain in the down position until completion.”


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