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Full Closure of the St. Lucie River Railroad Drawbridge in Effect Now through May 22

St. Lucie River Railroad Bridge
St. Lucie River Railroad Bridge

Treasure Coast - Monday May 1, 2023: The St. Lucie River railroad drawbridge is now closed, in the down position through May 22.

The drawbridge over the St. Lucie River in Stuart is being rehabilitated to "improve the bridge’s operating reliability," according to Brightline. It needs to be rehabilitated so that it can accommodate the additional high speed traffic from Brightline's soon to begin passenger rail service from Miami, through the Treasure Coast, and onto Orlando.

The rehabilitation of the bridge includes replacement of the mechanical components, electrical and control components and machining of the four trunnions in place. Trunnions are the axles on which the drawbridge rotates. Due to the type of construction work and necessary safety precautions, rehabilitation of the drawbridge requires that the bridge be rendered inoperable and remain in the down position, impacting the drawbridge operations and boats requiring an opening to pass.

Brightline says that once the work is complete, boaters will see several benefits including dependability of bridge openings and closings, reducing the risk of unplanned closures.

The rehabilitation work began with nighttime bridge closures from April 16 to April 28. As of Monday May 1, the drawbridge will be closed, in the down position, for 21-days. During this period Brightline crews will work around the clock, 24/7, to complete the work.

The United States Coast Guard approved Brightline’s request for a temporary modification to drawbridge operations, over the objections of Congressman Brian Mast, and boaters in the area many of whom are now temporarily cut off from access to marine businesses on either side of the drawbridge, and passage down the river onto the Atlantic.

Brightline is also implementing several mitigation measures prior to beginning train service to Orlando, including a real-time bridge opening and closure app, countdown clock at the bridge and a bridge monitor. Construction of the bridge monitor house is also currently underway, and that will not impact the navigation channel.

“The St. Lucie River bridge represents one of the final construction projects along our Orlando extension,” said Michael Cegelis, Executive Vice President, Rail Infrastructure and Development for Brightline. “This work is necessary to assure that the bascule span can open reliably for marine traffic and close for freight and high-speed passenger rail. The new mechanical and electrical systems will greatly reduce the risk of unplanned closures that would impact all three user groups.”

Brightline’s bridge work is being coordinated with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Marine Industries Association of the Treasure Coast, federal and state agencies, the Florida East Coast Railway as well as local counties and municipalities and law enforcement organizations.

Brightline’s current schedule for the work came about after receiving feedback from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Marine Industries Association of the Treasure Coast and local law enforcement agencies. Notice of the work will be included in the USCG Local Notice to Mariners. The bridge rehabilitation project, led by contractor Scott Bridge Company, is expected to be complete by summer of 2023.

Brightline will communicate information to the public through a variety of channels including fixed and variable message signs along the channel, updates on the Brightline website and via Brightline’s text alert message system.

You can sign up for text alerts for navigation channel schedule updates: text “STL” to 888-384-0037.

St. Lucie River Railroad Bridge Work Schedule

Full bridge closure – 6 a.m., Monday, May 1 to 6 a.m., Monday, May 22

Drawbridge to remain in the down position; no boat passage for vessels requiring an opening of the drawbridge. Vessels able to pass without an opening may do so at any time. Exercise caution.

Brightline crews will work 24/7.

Overnight bridge closures: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., Monday, May 22 to Monday, May 29

  • Drawbridge to remain in the down position overnight; no boat passage for vessels requiring an opening of the drawbridge.  Vessels able to pass without an opening may do so at any time.  Exercise caution.
  • Bridge will remain in the up (open) position from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
  • Normal operations from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Drawbridge returns to full normal operations 6 a.m., Monday, May 29.

St. Lucie River RR Bridge Construction Webpage