Part of railway bridge damaged by replaced cement mixer in Melbourne city center


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MELBOURNE, Florida. – Major repairs continued on Thursday on the damaged railway bridge spanning Crane Creek in downtown Melbourne, the day after a concrete mixer crashed in the low span, News 6 partner Florida Today reports.

At around 11 a.m. Thursday, a large crane hoisted an elevated horizontal trestle replacement segment from a flatbed trailer, then placed it on top of the aging Florida East Coast Railroad bridge in over Melbourne Avenue.

The rusty trestle dates from the 1920s. As repairs continue, workers reinforced the bridge by stacking steel beams from the sidewalk of Melbourne Avenue to the bottom of the structure. Trains continue to cross the bridge.

Traffic detours continue around the closed portion of Melbourne Avenue, increasing congestion along the New Haven Avenue commercial corridor.

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The affected road will remain closed until further notice, Melbourne police said via Twitter.

Messages seeking comments from FEC spokespersons were not returned on Wednesday or Thursday. An FEC worker at the construction site addressed questions to the company’s toll-free customer service department.

The concrete mixer is owned by a Palm City concrete company, according to a draft Melbourne Police accident report.

The driver, a 53-year-old man from Okeechobee, was driving east along Melbourne Avenue at 5:55 a.m. Wednesday when he crashed onto the bridge, according to the draft accident report.

Road signs say the headroom of the rail bridge is 11 feet 7 inches – but the concrete pump truck is 13 feet 6 inches tall, according to the report.

The driver “made his way under the trellis, causing serious damage to the tressel and the tracks,” the report said. A gray westbound sedan was struck by falling debris.

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The concrete mixer driver then drove to the Stuart area, according to the report. Police charged him with reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

On Thursday morning, a small fleet of white trucks from Scott Bridge Co. of Opelika, Ala., Pulled up along Depot Drive near the repair scene.

On the east side of the damaged bridge, a loader equipped with metal claws stacked wooden railway ties, and workers cut them with a circular saw.

Along with the damaged trestle, Brightline crews continue to build the first of two new steel and concrete bridges for future passenger rail service from Orlando to South Florida.

Brightline’s $ 17 million Crane Creek Bridge project – which will remove and replace the rusted bridge being repaired – is expected to be completed in May 2022.

The company’s work was unrelated to Wednesday’s incident, spokeswoman Katie Mitzner said.

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