Brightline Completes St. Lucie River Railroad Bridge Repairs Ahead of Schedule

Brightline has completed repairs to the St. Lucie Railroad Bridge in Stuart, Florida, and has reopened the bridge to mariner traffic one day ahead of schedule. This concludes 21 days of work by Brightline, including replacing all mechanical, electrical, and control components on the bridge. These repairs will increase the dependability of the bridge’s openings and closings, reducing the likelihood of unexpected delays and closures. Overnight closures will continue through Monday, May 29, 2023, between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Several mitigation measures will also be implemented before beginning train service to Orlando: 

  • An app monitoring bridge openings and closings 
  • A countdown clock 
  • A bridge monitor 

The app will be available to download when service to Orlando begins this summer. Construction of the bridge monitor house will continue through June, but will not impact the bridge’s operation. These measures will allow mariners to know when the bridge’s openings and closures are set to occur.


A Community Effort

The St. Lucie Railroad Bridge repairs are one of the final structural changes needed for Brightline’s Orlando expansion project. Brightline worked closely with the United States Coast Guard, the Marine Industries Association of the Treasure Coast, Martin County, and the City of Stuart, along with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to complete the repairs.

Replacement of the bridge continues to be an important issue among Brightline, elected officials from Martin County and the City of Stuart, along with representatives from the marine industry, including the Marine Industries Association of the Treasure Coast, the Florida Inland Navigation District, and the local business chambers.

“Brightline thanks the mariner community for their patience as we completed these improvements that will offer significant benefits and reliability until a replacement bridge can be built,” said Ben Porritt, senior vice president of corporate affairs. “A new bridge represents the best long-term solution for everyone and the time to solve that is now, as the federal focus remains on infrastructure. We can accomplish this together, but leadership and the community must work with us to move this forward.”

About The St. Lucie Railroad Bridge

Nearing a century of use, the St. Lucie Railroad Bridge is the sole remaining single-track segment on the Miami-to-Coccoa freight corridor of the Florida East Coast Railway (FECR).

A Brightline-funded study pointed out a new bridge that would have:

  • A double track for increased capacity
  • Increased vertical clearance from 6’6” to 16’
  • Increased horizontal clearance from 50’ to 90’, allowing for two-way mariner traffic

The increased clearances will allow for 90 percent of mariner traffic to pass under the bridge without a bridge opening, greatly improving navigation without using the drawbridge. The reduced amount of openings will allow for more fluid movement of mariner, freight, and motor traffic, reducing congestion and benefitting Florida’s economy.

Brightline continues to communicate information regarding the St. Lucie River bridge project through several mediums, including Brightline’s St. Lucie River bridge webpage and its text alert messaging system. To sign up for text alerts, text “STL” to 888-384-0037.

By Ethan Leckie