New Palm Beach drawbridge malfunctions…again

Updated Oct 22, 2018
Flagler Bridge
Photo: Flagler Memorial Bridge.
Photo: flaglerbridge.comPhoto:

The new Flagler Memorial Bridge in Palm Beach, Florida, is causing drivers more headaches.

Since the drawbridge was opened in the summer of 2017 it has been plagued by malfunctions leading to numerous closures of the bridge. The latest malfunction occurred at approximately 2:50 p.m. October 13, causing it to close until 5 p.m., reports. The cause of the malfunction was not immediately known.

The bridge, which took five years to build and cost more than anticipated, has reportedly malfunctioned more than two dozen times since it opened. According to the Palm Beach Post, a consultant who was called in to help after a similar malfunction in April 2018 issued a memo stating that there were no major mechanical problems, but the bridge continued to malfunction.

An investigation by the news agency found that engineers questioned the bridge design and that poor record keeping by a contractor may have hampered efforts to find a solution to earlier breakdowns. The investigation also found that the contractors failed to alert Palm Beach quickly about malfunctions and tests, which contributed to delays.

The new bridge spans the Intracoastal Waterway, features decorative lighting, sidewalks on each side, pedestrian outlooks and a new tender house. It is four lanes wide and supported by drilled and poured concrete shafts, which were used instead of traditional piles to reduce construction noise, according to the Flagler Memorial Bridge website.

Along with being wider, the new bridge is 21 feet higher than the old bridge it replaced.