KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. - The Miami-Dade County Public Works and Waste Management Department opened a second lane for westbound traffic on the Bear Cut Bridge, which connects Key Biscayne to Virginia Key.
The newly reopened lane is only for cars and motorcycles, the department said Tuesday. Trucks leaving Key Biscayne must continue to use the lane on the southern side of the bridge.
The westbound lanes of the bridge were barricaded off last week after the Florida Department of Transportation found structural deficiencies.
The bridge was built in 1944 and the 584 steel beams that hold up the westbound lanes have been impacted by the salt water. As a result, the beams have become rusty and chipped.
"We're confident it's not a situation where the bridge is going to fall down, but we want to take every effort and be very proactive in making sure that we are doing the right thing," said Miami-Dade Public Works Director Kathleen Woods-Richardson.
Currently, two eastbound lanes of the bridge are being rerouted. One lane is being used for eastbound traffic and the other is being used for westbound traffic.
Crews said they will have to replace the decking of the westbound lanes, which could take up to a year and cost $25 million. The eastbound lanes of the Bear Cut Bridge are not compromised because the beams holding up the decking are made of concrete.
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