ORLANDO, Fla. - A new Interstate 4 bridge over Colonial Drive and Garland Avenue opened to traffic Monday, the Florida Department of Transportation said.
Workers started removing temporary support structures under the new bridge in December to prepare to open the bridge to traffic.
In April 2018, WFTV’s radio partner News 96.5 WDBO was first to report cracks in the pier supporting the bridge. The bridge is part of the I-4 Ultimate project and is designed to give drivers better access to I-4 east.
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The bridge was supposed to open earlier this year but was delayed after reports showed 17 cracks on the pier, Eyewitness News discovered.
"We believe that we found through our testing that the bridge is structurally sound and right now we are just working on serviceability repairs," Mike Shannon, the District 5 Florida Department of Transportation secretary said in November.
FDOT officials said Friday there's no question whether the bridge was safe, but rather, will it last through its 75-year life expectancy.
"I guess if they've looked over it and if they have made sure that whatever caused the cracks last time is fine now. I don't have a problem with it," driver Abbullah Suhaiv said.
Any potential repairs could help increase its lifespan, said FDOT officials.
To take the new ramp, drivers need to be in the right lane. The ramp on the left is closing permanently.
NEW DRIVE 🚗: here’s a look at the new ramp to I-4 Eastbound from Garland & Amelia. Barrels blocking the left part of the bridge. But it is causing traffic in the elevated lanes between Colonial & Fairbanks, which already was having delays (cont’d) @WFTV pic.twitter.com/zylXO3FNKa— Racquel Asa (@RAsaWFTV) January 7, 2019
.@MyFDOT_CFL tells me it remains convinced of the bridge’s safety. The question has been and continues to be its longevity/sustainability. The agency wants it to last 75 years, which may require repairs. #WFTV https://t.co/OVmxh9PZZq— Field Sutton (@FSuttonWFTV) December 28, 2018
The bridge has been supported by what @MyFDOT_CFL calls a temporary shoring structure ever since the cracks showed up. The agency has said all along this was precautionary and that the bridge is safe. #WFTV pic.twitter.com/VHO1wMO2HU— Field Sutton (@FSuttonWFTV) December 28, 2018
The bridge is held up by this one large support pier, which @news965wdbo noticed cracks in back in April. It’s been wired with sensors ever since as part of a safety evaluation. #WFTV pic.twitter.com/iWisknMv55— Field Sutton (@FSuttonWFTV) December 28, 2018
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