Bridge Reopening In Delray Beach, Fla.
Nearly two months after the drawbridge at George Bush Boulevard in Delray Beach got stuck in the upright position, it finally was reopened on Friday, April 29, 2022.
As the Sun Sentinel reports, the bridge remained in the upright position since March 3 when it opened for boat traffic and then became stuck. Engineers identified damage to the main shaft and the gear machinery as the cause of the problem. Since then, the bridge has remained in the upright position, forcing drivers to find alternate routes from the mainland over the Intracoastal Waterway to the beach. The detours caused increased traffic and possibly led to certain car accidents reports on the roads because drivers were unfamiliar with the new routes.
Although unrelated, the bridge news harkens back to a month ago, when a bicyclist fell to her death after a drawbridge connecting Palm Beach to the Florida mainland began rising before she could reach the other side. The woman was walking her bicycle toward West Palm Beach on Sunday afternoon and was within 10 feet of the barrier arms that halt traffic when the drawbridge started to move, police told news outlets.
The horrible bridge accident has led to manslaughter charges against the bridge attendant. In this case, it is not considered vehicular manslaughter because the woman was operating the bridge, not a vehicle of her own.
The Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration has a thorough rulebook for bridge safety standards that “requires track owners to implement bridge management programs, which include annual inspections of railroad bridges, and to audit the programs. This final rule also requires track owners to know the safe load capacity of bridges and to conduct special inspections if the weather or other conditions warrant such inspections.”
However, after the horrible accident in West Palm Beach, drivers, and especially pedestrians, may be wary of the bridge reopening on George Bush Blvd. After 6 weeks of closure, the bridge is surely safe to travel over, and no one should expect any more bridge accidents or car accidents. According to a Palm Beach spokesman, “the bridge has now been deemed safe,” however “intermittent bridge closures are to be expected as continued monitoring is planned.”