MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A South Florida man spotted something startling while on his boat in a Miami-Dade canal.
Exposed rebar and chunks of missing concrete are what Michael Solano captured in cell phone video from his boat as he passed under 17th Street in Miami Beach.
The canal he said he’s been traveling in since he was a child runs parallel to Dade Boulevard.
“It looked like the bridge started crumbling apart,” he said. “Chunks were falling out, the rebar was exposed completely.”
The Local 10 Drone was brought to investigate, and it confirmed what Solano saw, spalling, chips and chunks of missing concrete and exposed rebar on the underside of the bridge.
“Big trucks drive over that bridge, a lot of cars drive over that bridge,” Solano said.
In the wake of the tragic events in Surfside and the deadly FIU bridge collapse, Solano believes these issues are far from water under the bridge.
“I feel like people are going to always have that constant fear,” he said. “Someone should go out there, check it, make sure it’s actually safe. It’s better to know than later on finding out the hard way.”
The 17th Street bridge is one of 44 in Miami Beach the public drives over. The city maintains two dozen of those bridges.
A spokesperson with the city told Local 10 News’ Layron Livingston that the Florida Department of Transportation inspects all of those bridges twice a year.
The 17th Street bridge was last inspected in June.
City inspectors also went out in September and identified “increased spalling” compared to previous inspections.
Despite what the city calls “deterioration on the deck top and underside, prestressed concrete piles, and a reinforced concrete cap”, FDOT determined the bridge, “acceptable,” for now. It’s in need of repair, but not urgently.
Local 10 News was told the city is working to program funding for those repairs, which could begin as early as next fall.
The city told Local 10 News the 73rd and 77th Street bridges are both in the design phase.
Repairs are expected within the next three years.
The same can be said for the Henedon Avenue bridge over the Biscayne Point Canal.
A recent inspection of the Pine Tree Lane bridge to La Gorce Island revealed it, too, needs repair.
Repairs have already been made where 77th Street crosses the Biscayne Point Canal.
Loose concrete under the Star Island bridge was also recently repaired.