CALLAWAY, Fla. (WMBB) — The bridge on Berthe Avenue in Callaway has seen better days.
State transportation officials have been documenting the bridge’s deterioration for about eight years now.
It’s causing some inconvenience.
In October 2021, flooding from a heavy rain event washed out the bridge in two spots, forcing emergency repairs.
Callaway city officials finally received $3 million in FEMA funding to properly repair the structure.
“Now, this was forced to necessity because the bridge was in such dire need of a replacement due to its age,” said Callaway City Manager Ed Cook.
The work requires traffic to be detoured.
Crews shut down the 80-foot bridge on May 10 and began detouring traffic onto Boat Race Road and Cherry Street.
Residents will experience delays and increased noise for quite a while.
“The bridge is shut down. It’s going to be shut down. The contract length is a year. We’re not going to have it shut down that long,” said Cook.
If city officials had ignored the problem, the state would have stepped in.
“That bridge, the scour report, it was that ultimate failure at any given point. I was going to start shutting the bridge down on account of big rains,” said Cook.
RJ Gorman Marine Construction is repairing the bridge. It’s Gorman’s first bridge project.
“We got all the good machinery, the right crane, the right man for the job. So, it’ll be good,” said Crane Superintendent “JJ” Russ.
The repair will also improve drainage and reduce erosion.
“Just bear with us and we’ll respect all the guys around the neighborhood and do what we can to help them out. But they’ll have a nice bridge when we complete it,” said Russ.
Cook says he anticipates the project won’t be completed until June 2024.