Sebastian Inlet Bridge found to be 'structurally deficient'

Sebastian bridge.jpg

Problems have been found on a bridge in the Treasure Coast that many people use everyday.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)says the bridge is "structurally deficient."

The Sebastian Inlet Bridge on A1A is a landmark, an aging landmark that the state says is almost at the end of its useful life.

“This is my pastime, it keeps me out of trouble," said Dave Clauss, who CBS12 News found fishing near the Sebastian Inlet Bridge.

Clauss, a retired lawn care business owner, says he fishes there three to four times a week.

The bridge on A1A has weathered storms and everything Mother Nature can dish out for more than half a century. But according to a report from FDOT, the bridge is now considered “structurally deficient.”

"Oh it surprised me. It does surprise me," Clauss said.

FDOT says “structurally deficient” doesn’t mean it's unsafe, but it does mean the bridge needs to be replaced within the next six years.

The report says the substructure is rated “poor” and the deck is rated “satisfactory.”

Some drivers may be wondering if it’s safe to use it.

"I don’t have a problem with it. Why is that? It’s held up here and I don’t feel any shaking going through when I go through it," Clauss said.

According to FDOT, "the bridge is safe in its current state and the load rating (loads it is allowed to carry) has not changed."

An inspection last November turned up corrosion, cracks and other deficiencies, which can clearly be seen, but none serious enough to shut down the bridge. An inspection that was done after Hurricane Dorian showed the bridge did not suffer any hurricane damage.

“It seems like the whole country is falling apart, roadways, bridges. The whole infrastructure. But where’s the money gonna come from? Somebody’s gotta pay for it. And we’re in debt right now," said Matt Salter, a Jupiter Farms resident who was visiting the bridge.

FDOT says under the current plans, a development and environmental impact study for the new bridge will be done in 2021.

However, FDOT has not disclosed how much it will cost.