As the Sony Open tennis tournament jumps into full swing on Thursday, drivers on Key Biscayne should expect congested traffic.
"It was a little tough coming over tonight. It slowed it down,” said tennis fan Ford Robinette.
In 2012, more than 300,000 people packed Key Biscayne to see Serena Williams’ strong strike on the tennis courts as well as Roger Federer's fierce fight for a win.
The cause of the traffic at this year’s tournament is not just tennis fans converging on one spot, but also limited lanes on the battered Bear Cut Bridge. Emergency repairs are underway on the 70-year-old bridge.
It’s a road that just about every visitor of the Sony Open will have to cross
"I think it's gonna be tough as we get closer to the finals,” said Robinette. “The drive coming in on the finals is two hours. I think we're looking at longer than that this time."
Drivers will likely be stuck evener longer lines because of a new traffic pattern to keep motorists away from the area of the bridge, which the Florida Department of Transportation deemed structurally deficient.
Miami-Dade County maintains the bridge and admits it was aware of some corrosion years ago, but says a recent inspection found even more on each of the steel beams holding up the westbound lanes.
According to the county, that’s why immediate repairs are crucial at such a busy time on Key Biscayne.
Some folks told Local 10 they aren't swayed by the delays.
"I've been to all the other major tournaments and this tournament is as good as any of ‘em and I think the sight and setting is even better," said one fan.