LOCAL

Marco Island bridge reopens after FDOT officials complete review; replacement to cost $3.5M

The West Winterberry Bridge, officially known as the Smokehouse Creek Bridge on Marco Island, reopened Friday, pending temporary fixes

Tomas Rodriguez
Naples Daily News

A day after one of Marco Island's bridges closed to traffic "immediately" following concerns of a potential collapse, state officials say they completed their review. Police announced shortly after 5 p.m. Friday the bridge was open to traffic and pedestrians.

"The recent closure of the West Winterberry Bridge, officially known as the Smokehouse Creek Bridge, on Marco Island was due in part to a standard inspection by the Florida Department of Transportation," Janella Newsome, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation, said in a statement.

Newsome said engineers noticed changes from a prior inspection and recommended the city-owned bridge close pending review.

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State officials expedited their analysis and completed it Thursday night. Newsome said they determined the bridge is no longer at risk of collapsing.

Detour and closure signs remain posted around the Island. Marco Island police remained in the area Friday to prevent traffic congestion.

"The review and recommendations have been sent to the city, as the bridge is under the jurisdiction of the city," said Newsome, who didn't specify what the recommendations are. "The review indicated that the bridge can safely be reopened once modifications are made."

City officials say they need to make some technical modifications to provide counter-weighting and compensate for the compromised post-tensioning system.

Bridge slated for replacement

State officials are reviewing the design plans for the bridge replacement and have requested an extension through Feb. 15.

Once FDOT permits the project, the city will bid the project, officials said. They expect to award the contract in April and construction to begin this summer.

In 2020, city officials reviewed the FDOT inspection reports indicating that the bridge is functionally obsolete and needs replacing.

State officials gave the bridge a score of 67, allowing the bridge to stay open. The design for the replacement bridge is completed and under review by state officials.

The replacement will cost $3.5 million, with $1.7 million from state funding and the rest coming from the city's budget. The City Council has approved the spending.

What happened Wednesday?

Marco Island police announced Wednesday afternoon that the Florida Department of Transportation had mandated the West Winterberry Bridge be closed to all traffic.

Police said the method of reinforcing the concrete had come loose, making the bridge susceptible to collapse.

The Daily News contacted city officials for comment, but didn't receive a response before publication.

Tomas Rodriguez is a Breaking/Live News Reporter for the Naples Daily News and The News-Press. You can reach Tomas at TRodriguez@gannett.com or 772-333-5501. Connect with him on Twitter @TomasFRoBeltran, Instagram @tomasfrobeltran and Facebook @tomasrodrigueznews.