One Bridge Damaged by Ian Reopens, and a Truck Is Among First to Cross It

One Bridge Broken by Ian Reopens, and a Truck Is Amongst First to Cross It

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Hours earlier than Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis introduced that emergency street and bridge repairs to Pine Island had been accomplished forward of schedule on Oct. 5, cheers and slightly laughter greeted a number of the first motorists to cross a short lived bridge constructed to revive entry by land to the island, which took a lot of the brunt from Hurricane Ian.

Work on the bridge started Oct. 3 and Florida Division of Transportation crews completed the repairs in lower than three days, DeSantis and FDOT Secretary Jared W. Perdue mentioned in an FDOT assertion from Tallahassee.

“Inside 24 hours after I requested FDOT to become involved, we had greater than 130 vehicles rolling in and crews started working,” DeSantis mentioned within the assertion. “We made it a precedence and we didn’t simply get it achieved — we obtained it achieved fast. I wish to thank the devoted FDOT crews for working across the clock to revive the neighborhood’s entry to Pine Island.”

The bridge has not opened simply but for the general public, however precedence entry might be for emergency autos and first responders, Michael Williams, FDOT deputy communications director, mentioned in an e-mail to the Miami Herald. Williams didn’t say when the bridge can be open to the 9,000 residents who dwell on the island, lots of whom fled earlier than Ian and have been anxiously awaiting to return to see how their properties fared.

Among the many first to go over the water on wheels as seen in a video posted Oct. 5 by Brandon Lynaugh on a closed Pine Island Fb web page: a police automobile and a Publix truck carrying provides to assist a neighborhood largely lower off from civilization.

“What an awfully lovely sight to see. Rejoice!” posted Christian Conner after viewing the video on the Fb web site.

“Tons of of a great deal of sand and rock, numerous items of heavy gear, and devoted crew members have actually helped pave the best way to restoration for this neighborhood. The Division was honored to be referred to as to assist assist Florida’s communities of their biggest time of want,” mentioned Perdue in a press release. “We’re proud to have labored alongside our companions, Lee County, and ship on our promise of reconnecting this neighborhood to the mainland as shortly as we probably might.”

Hurricane Ian’s storm surge and Class 4 winds washed out roads and remoted residents who rode out the storm on the 18-mile, mangrove-wrapped Pine Island when the cyclone made landfall at Cayo Costa on Sept. 28, an island simply throughout Pine Island Sound.

At an Oct. 2 press briefing in Arcadia, DeSantis mentioned he had directed the Florida Division of Transportation to construct a short lived bridge from Matlacha to Pine Island to make the world accessible by car. Because the bridge was down, many residents have hailed boats to get them to the island.

Earlier than Ian, Pine Island was residence to fishing villages, snowbirds and long-term residents, who now face the lengthy street to restoration.

Earlier than convoys of emergency crews, police and grocery deliveries might acquire entry, some frightened residents took to social media to plea for assist.

“We should not have any assist in St. James Metropolis, there are such a lot of folks right here which have utterly misplaced all the things like elsewhere,” Denise Martinez posted Oct. 2 on a Pine Island Fb group. “As of this morning, no one has introduced in provides in addition to the folks attempting to get to the island themselves to verify on family members or in the event that they nonetheless have a house. All the folks on the island want meals, water, fuel, propane, they don’t actually have a roll of bathroom paper. One thing must be achieved right this moment or extra folks will die. It’s a full struggle zone down right here.”

In response to the governor’s workplace and FDOT, everlasting repairs to the Pine Island Bridge might be constructed after fast restoration efforts subside. “Whereas the everlasting alternative is anticipated to take a while to finish, the work accomplished this week supplies protected and fast entry,” the assertion mentioned.

Moreover, DeSantis introduced Oct. 4 {that a} contract to start repairs to the Sanibel Causeway was awarded. Gear was mobilized Oct. 4 and a staff is on the bottom to start repairs. The repairs to the Sanibel Causeway are anticipated to be accomplished by the top of October, his workplace mentioned.

The governor’s launch didn’t say to whom the contract was awarded.

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