CBS12: Health Of Tequesta Drawbridge May Be Putting Lives At Risk

Posted on September 29, 2015

Story by Lynda Figueredo

TEQUESTA (CBS12) — The mayor of Tequesta is pushing for something to be done to fix the 90-year-old drawbridge over the Loxahatchee River before it’s too late.

Issues with the aging drawbridge have caused trains to come to a halt on the tracks, preventing emergency personnel from getting to roads that lead directly to the village of Tequesta.

Lori Dubay often travels to Tequesta to care for her 80-year-old mother but the bridge worries her.

“Every time I go over those tracks, I worry is the way going to be blocked?  Is she is going to be in need?  Can someone get to her?  Can I get to her?  That is a constant worry?” said Dubay.

The malfunctioning operating mechanism of the bridge has prevented emergency crews from reaching patients.

The stalled freight trains have blocked the three main roadways to the area during crucial times in the past.

“We have already seen two incidents in this last six months that has revolved around one emergency personnel not being able to get a patient to the hospital and the other one, the emergency personnel not being able to get to the patient,” said Dubay.

The bridge is up for repair or replacement as part of the All Aboard Florida project which is expected to add 32 trains a day on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks.

Tequesta Mayor Abby Brennan says the village can’t wait two years for the repairs, too many lives are at risk now.

“I’ve been saying to FEC, we can’t wait,” said Mayor Brennan. “We need you to come in and do at least a part of that repair.  They are doing routine maintenance and that isn’t enough.”

Mayor Brennan had also reached out to the FDOT in hopes something can be done to expedite the repairs to the bridge.

The Federal Railroad Administration issued this statement on the matter:

“Safety is the Federal Railroad Administration’s number one priority. FRA has requested that Florida East Coast Railway confirm that its dispatchers, engineers and conductors have all been informed that trains should not cross East Riverside Drive if there is not a clear signal to proceed across the Loxahatchee River bridge. We expect Florida East Coast Railroad to work with local communities and keep any commitments it has made to increase safety.”

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