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Bridge Collapse is 2nd for FL Road

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

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A large section of a Jacksonville, FL, bridge has dropped into the river beneath it, marking the second time in three years that part of the roadway has become a large, gaping hole.

The newest failed section of South Liberty Street, described as about the size of two doublewide mobile homes, collapsed early Feb. 1 into the St. Johns River.

Another part of the Liberty Street bridge has been closed to traffic since 2012, when a 12-ton crane caused it to collapse. The City Council voted to spend $750,000 to repair that hole less than a week before the latest incident.

Liberty Street Collapse
Images: Screen grabs via

The section of Liberty Street collapsed on Feb. 1, leaving residents without power since then. The road already had another hole after a 12-ton crane caused it to collapse in 2012.

The section of street, sidewalk and city parking lot is built over the river on top of pilings.

No injuries were reported, and no vehicles fell into the river.

Weeks Without Electricity

Residents in nearby townhomes have been without electricity ever since the collapse, and it could take several more weeks to restore it because of resulting damage to an electrical transformer and conduit. Many families have moved into hotels or purchased generators.

The townhome association has hired its own engineer to determine if the parking garage can even handle the weight of emergency generators.

A crane will be needed to repair the transformer, but a crane can't get in until the street is repaired and deemed structurally sound, officials said.

Robotic Inspections

The cause of the latest collapse is under investigation.

Inspections on the section started Tuesday (Feb. 10), with robotic cameras being used to get a closer look at the damage.

"We have a subcontract team on behalf of DOT that's going in," Ron Tittle, Florida Department of Transportation spokesman, told

"They've got a little robotic-looking submarine device with cameras on it. They're going to be going in, controlling it from the trailer.

"It's going to be hard to see in there, but they're going to assess everything they can assess, get the data, give it back to our bridge department and then analyze it as quickly as possible so we can give it to the city, so they know where to go from there."

No Cost Estimate

"Wow. This is really awful, but I'm glad nobody got hurt," Penny McGregor, who walks her dog on the Riverwalk each week, told the Florida Times-Union.

"It was all road last weekend. You could drive on it. But now, it's this. This is impressive, but not in a good way," McGregor said.

Crews have been working to secure the site and assess the damage and the cause, David DeCamp, spokesman for Mayor Alvin Brown, told the Times-Union.

The last inspection deemed the bridge structurally deficient. Robotic cameras are assessing the damage.

"As a precautionary measure, the city's Environmental Quality Division is monitoring the site, which fronts the St. Johns River," DeCamp said.

"We are also working with the Florida Department of Transportation, which oversees bridges. The section of street functions as a bridge because it is over water. The section of Liberty Street is structurally separate and distinct from other properties nearby."

DeCamp added that it was too early to say how much repairs would cost and how quickly they could be done.

2013 Inspection

According to, the bridge was deemed structurally deficient after a 2013 inspection, but FDOT and the city would not say why, citing Homeland Security rules.

However, the National Bridge Inventory database listed problems such as an "unknown foundation" and said the structure was "basically intolerable, requiring high priority of corrective action," the media outlet reported.

DeCamp said the inspectors did not find the need to place it under closure order in 2013, so it appeared safe to drive on, according to

The connected Coastline Drive bridge is also a priority for replacement, according to said it had also inquired about inspections, but FDOT redacted the results to protect the public from "potential acts of terrorism."


Tagged categories: Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT); Infrastructure; North America; Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways

Comment from Xingliang Zhang, (2/11/2015, 2:43 AM)

Is in happened in the states or in China?

Comment from S Wolfe, (2/11/2015, 10:17 AM)

Only in Florida are double-wide mobile homes a recognized unit of distance measurement.

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