Judge says closure of New River railway bridge less harmful to public

Marine businesses sought to stop 12-day closure for Brightline repairs

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The company behind an express passenger rail line between Miami and Orlando will be allowed to temporarily close a railway bridge in Fort Lauderdale for repairs, despite the objections of marine businesses in the area, a federal judge ruled last week.

U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas ruled Friday that All Aboard Florida can forge ahead with its plans to lock the New River railway bridge in the down position for 12 days -- from Feb. 11 to Feb. 23 -- while it makes repairs in preparation for the new Brightline passenger train service.

The track is operated by the Florida East Coast Railway.

A group of marine businesses filed a lawsuit and emergency injunction after the U.S. Coast Guard approved the 12-day closure, which will impact traffic on the New River.

The judge ruled that although marine traffic will be impacted by the closure, causing a potential loss of revenue for businesses, the public "would not be best served by large-scale disruptions in freight deliveries to South Florida, nor would the interests of the public be best served by a delay in the implementation" of Brightline.

He ruled that the bridge's closure is less harmful to the public at large than it is to the plaintiffs suing to stop the closure.

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