Drawbridges are becoming increasingly important for South Florida – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

Many of us walk or drive over it every day. In tonight’s 7 Investigates, Kevin Ozebek takes a look at the growing concerns about South Florida’s drawbridges.

It happened in the blink of an eye. On St. Patrick’s Day 2021, cyclist Fred Medina fell to his death after attempting to cross the South Miami Avenue Bridge as it opened.

Police say he walked around the gate as the bridge went up.

Arman Medina, Fred’s son: “It was tough. There’s not a day that we don’t talk about him. i miss my father I just wish I had him back.”

Then last February another death in Palm Beach County.

Carol Wright, 79, died when the Royal Park Drawbridge blew up as she was crossing. The bridge tender on duty that day was later arrested and charged with manslaughter.

In March, the victim’s family filed a lawsuit.

Lance Ivey, Family Law Attorney: “The overwhelming complaint was lack of education, lack of education, lack of security.”

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, there were more than a dozen bridge incidents in Miami-Dade and Broward counties in the past year alone.

A 2021 report details a bid to open Miami’s Brickell Bridge while a pedestrian in a wheelchair was on it. The report states that he “…held on to avoid falling…” and that this tender was later “terminated.”

Whether mechanical problems, mistakes by bridge keepers or daring drivers, cyclists or pedestrians, accidents have been happening for decades.

Sen. Shevrin Jones, Transportation Committee: “Let’s fix it. let’s fix it We have to, we have to fix this now.”

State Senator Shevrin Jones is a member of the state’s Transportation Committee. He wants to improve security at all of Florida’s drawbridges.

Senator Jones: “Listen, it’s 2022. Technology has advanced, so we should be able to set something up that won’t let a pedestrian walk up on the bridge.”

The Florida Department of Transportation operates many of the state’s bridges, including this bridge on Fifth Street in downtown Miami. Here the state is testing new technology that includes thermal imaging cameras to help alerts better spot people crossing this bridge.

Senator Jones: If it works, implement them in all these state drawbridges. That’s something I stand ready to support if it ever comes to the Transport Committee.”

Miami-Dade County drawbridges now have bicycle plates like this to prevent riders from slipping, and county bridges are currently in the design phase and additional mitigation features will be implemented during construction to minimize blind spots from the bridge’s tender house.

Arman Medina: “I wish other people would see how important bridges are and how important safety is so that this can never happen to another father or mother, son or daughter.”

For those who have lost loved ones on Florida’s bridges, safety improvements can’t come fast enough.

Kevin Ozebek, 7News.

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https://wsvn.com/news/investigations/drawbridges-becoming-major-concern-to-south-florida/ Drawbridges are becoming increasingly important for South Florida – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

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