Westbound Lanes of Bear Cut Bridge To Shut Friday: Report

One of the normally eastbound lanes will be used for traffic heading west

Thursday, Jan 3, 2013  |  Updated 10:59 PM EDT
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Nikolay Davydenko of Russia collects tolls at the Key Biscayne Toll Booths during day three of the Sony Ericsson Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 26, 2008 in Key Biscayne. The closure of two lanes on the Bear Cut Bridge will impact traffic for the 2013 tournament, again scheduled for March.

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Miami-Dade County will close the westbound lanes of the bridge connecting Key Biscayne to Virginia Key after officials found “structural deficiencies” with the span, The Miami Herald reported.

The emergency move, taking effect Friday morning, will keep in place one of the eastbound lanes of Bear Cut Bridge. The other will be turned into a lane heading toward Virginia Key and the mainland, the newspaper reported.

The two normal westbound lanes could be shut for up to a year while the county looks at and fixes corroded steel beams, said county spokesman Fernando Figueredo. He emphasized that there’s not a solid timeframe yet for the closure.

An official with the Florida Department of Transportation told the Herald that the agency had recommended that the county put in place restrictions on heavy vehicles using the westbound lanes of the bridge.

“The westbound bridge has some capacity left, but not enough to carry the garbage trucks and the emergency vehicles and fuel tankers,” Dennis Fernandez said.

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In its latest inspection Dec. 26, Bear Cut Bridge was deemed “structurally deficient,” meaning that it should be replaced or repaired within six years. It has received that rating for at least four and a half years, the Herald reported.

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