Hutchinson Ferry Road bridge reopens

Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 8:10 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Gadsden County is getting a glimpse at the first few tires crossing Hutchinson Ferry Road Bridge Tuesday.

The county held a ribbon cutting Tuesday for the re-opening of the bridge, one and a half years after it collapsed.

In August of 2019 the bridge, located a few miles south of the Florida-Georgia state line, collapsed unexpectedly.

“I came across it about 8:30 p.m. that night and there was a big bump right here. The next morning I came back and it caved in,” said Curtis Carter.

Carter, who lives in the area, remembers the August night the bridge collapsed. He used to take the road every day, and now says he plans to do the same again.

“It made me go out of my way to get to town and to work, that was about the only way,” Carter said. “A little longer and out of the way because this is a straight shot back to Quincy.”

County officials cited impacts brought on by Hurricane Michael as a cause of the nearly 60 year old bridge to fall.

“The last two hurricanes had wear and tear on the bridge I’m sure, and the age of the bridge,” said Brenda Holt, Chair of the Gadsden County Board of Commissioners. “But there was no signs that it was going to collapse. After the weather had cleared from Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Sally, the land was saturated.”

According to documents from the Florida Department of Transportation, the most recent inspection happened about six months prior to the collapse, in February of 2019. The reports detail the bridge to be showing a “significant need for improvement.”

As a response to the 2019 collapse, the county had every bridge inspected and continue to do so.

“We are concerned about safety in Gadsden County, definitely,” Holt said. “We wanted to make sure we had a handle on which bridges that we think need to be evaluated. We bring in other evaluators, engineers, and the state of Florida has looked at some of the bridges.”

The county received about $1.6 million from FDOT for the repairs.

Since the inspections, county officials say they found one other bridge that needed repairs. That work has been completed.

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