Mid-Bay Bridge reopens after corrosion repairs

Mid-Bay Bridge reopens after corrosion repairs. (Source: WEAR-TV)

The Mid-Bay Bridge stretches 3.6 miles, spanning Choctawatchee Bay.

Its strength comes from 870 tendons. A series of tightly wound cables encased in plastic tubes.

Three were found to have corrosion in an October inspection, leading to the suspension of permits for overweight loads. That inspection also identified 4 other suspect tendons.

Further inspection earlier this month determined they were also corroded. The concern arose because two of the corroded tendons were close together.

April Williams, FDOT Structural Engineer, says "Two tendons in one span is a bad deal. So that is when the decision was made to close the bridge."

Eight tendons were replaced before the bridge was reopened to passenger vehicles only.

Now plans call for the rest to be inspected over the next six months, through monthly inspections for two years. Engineers used a hammer that generates a vibration if there is no corrosion

According to Williams, "Every six months every tendon will be inspected with a hammer. A hands-on inspection. That averages out to 125 tendons a month."

The plan could cost more than a million dollars and while engineers are focused on structural maintenance, other maintenance issues were questioned by Bill Flynn, who bikes the bridge daily.

"We see trailer hitches, we see lawnmowers, grills, lawn chairs, 2 by fours. And there's no signage indicating who to call, says Flynn.

Flynn says some of the debris has been there for months.

An authority spokesperson says that is being addressed in a new state contract.

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