NEW: U.S. 1 bridge in North Palm closing for repairs this weekend


Highlights

The bridge will be closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles starting 8 p.m. Friday.

The contractor hopes to open the bridge again by 6 a.m. Monday.

Construction crews will shut down the partially collapsed U.S. 1 bridge just north of Northlake Boulevard this weekend to remove what’s left of the sidewalks and railings.

RELATED: No quick solutions after partial collapse of North Palm Beach bridge

The closure will start 8 p.m. today. The contractor plans to open the bridge by 6 a.m. Monday, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. The bridge will be open to emergency vehicles. North Palm Beach’s police and fire station is just north of the road over the C-17 canal, locally known as the Earman River.

READ: Boating, driving restricted after U.S. 1 bridge collapse

Workers will remove the sidewalks and barrier walls on both sides of the bridge. If they can’t finish by Monday morning, they’ll suspend work during the daytime commutes and start again 8 p.m. Monday until 6 a.m. Tuesday, according to FDOT.

A 35-foot section of the sidewalk and part of the shoulder on the southbound side of the bridge plunged into the water about 9:30 a.m. Oct. 18. Two failing cables that held the sidewalk to the bridge failed, according to North Palm Beach.

One North Palm Beach resident finishing breakfast at the IHOP south of the bridge described feeling a vibration before the bridge collapse.

The 90,000-pound chunk of concrete that fell is still in the water. The channel under the bridge will stay closed to boat traffic until the contractor removes the slab, FDOT spokeswoman Barbara Kelleher said.

The department awarded a 10-day, $399,000 emergency contract to Johnson Bros. Construction for the job. The company can get a bonus for finishing the work early.

The bridge will have four lanes for cars instead of the current six when it opens again, with temporary barrier walls creating bike lanes and pedestrian walkways in what is now the far-right lane in either direction.

In the days after the bridge collapse, police opened in the innermost southbound lane and the two innermost northbound lanes. The northbound sidewalk remained closed because it’s connected with the same type of wire as on the southbound side. The far-right northbound lane is cordoned off for pedestrians and bikers.

There have been traffic delays.

The last available inspection report for the bridge is from November 2015. Inspectors were satisfied with the condition of the structure, but it isn’t designed to meet modern standards, they reported.

An average of 26,500 cars a day move across the stationary bridge built in 1956 and rebuilt in 2003, according to bridge data and inspection reports obtained by The Palm Beach Post.

Data reporter Mike Stucka contributed to this report.



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