WATCH NEWS CONFERENCE LIVE:
The U.S. Coast Guard is warning boaters to avoid the area of the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart due to the "risk of an imminent collapse" after chunks of concrete fell off the bridge.
All north and southbound lanes of the bridge are now closed until further notice while engineers inspect the damage.
A large crack can be seen along the south end of the bridge, which runs over Northwest Dixie Highway.
#UPDATE: Roosevelt Bridge repairs likely no quick fix. A crack was spotted by a nearby restaurant last night. They notified authorities. Train traffic is being limited under bridge. Coast guard also blocking boat traffic. Dixie Highway remains shut down. @WPTV pic.twitter.com/Vswd4mSpqY
— Meghan McRoberts (@MeghanWPTV) June 17, 2020
WPTV has learned that construction crews working on an unrelated road project on the bridge on Tuesday spotted the damage and notified police.
According to city officials in Stuart, the crack is more of an impact to the facade of the bridge. However, engineers from FDOT will determine if there's a deeper structural issue that's putting the bridge in danger.
The Coast Guard began warning boaters via scanners just after 2 a.m. Wednesday.
"All stations, all stations, this is United States Coast Guard Center Miami, Florida. All vessels are required to keep clear of the new Roosevelt Bridge until further notice, due to the risk of imminent collapse," the message blared.
In a tweet around 7:30 a.m., the Coast Guard said it's established a safety zone for stopping commercial maritime traffic from going underneath the Roosevelt Bridge.
#BREAKING the @USCG has established a #safetyzone stopping any commercial maritime traffic from transiting under the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart, Fla. The #USCG is working w/ @MyFDOT & other local agencies in the area for the bridge closure.#Ready, #Relevant, #Responsive
— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) June 17, 2020
The Stuart Police Department also wanted drivers to avoid the area, saying the southbound lanes of the bridge are closed until further notice.
🚨🚨Southbound lanes of the Roosevelt Bridge are closed until further notice. Old Dixie Hwy is also closed.
Traffic is moved to 1- lane on the northbound lane for both North/Southbound traffic.
— Stuart Police Dept. (@cityofstuart) June 17, 2020
"What we do know is some concrete fell from underneath the Roosevelt Bridge and there were concerns about the bridge and its safety at that time," Stuart police spokesperson Sgt. Brian Bossio said. "We immediately, out of caution, closed down southbound lanes to ensure that it is safe for everyone."
To see inspection scores from local bridges, click here.