PALM BAY, Fla. - "Carmageddon" is over, as of Wednesday morning.
Detour barriers were removed related to the closing of a half-mile section of Palm Bay Road in Palm Bay and West Melbourne for an extensive road repair project.
Palm Bay Road reopened for motorists four weeks ahead of schedule and under budget, following completion of a project to replace a collapsed stormwater drain at the roadway's intersection with Minton Road, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.
The project, which was estimated to cost as much as $850,000, will be completed at a cost of about $600,000, county officials said.
In a statement released Wednesday morning, Brevard County Public Works Director John Denninghoff credited coordination between vendors and the county; the work of county road crews; and cooperation between the county and city leaders and law enforcement agencies of Palm Bay and West Melbourne, along with Melbourne-Tillman Water District staff, with the reopening. Good weather also helped cut time off the project.
About 70,000 motorists use the roadway on an average weekday. They have had to use alternate routes while the project was underway.
The work involved replacement of a steel stormwater drain pipe that was discovered on the verge of collapse in February beneath Palm Bay Road at Minton Road. The area is a high-traffic area that feeds traffic through a busy business corridor, residential areas and to nearby Interstate 95.
The work began April 7, and the detour initially was expected to last until June 11.
In a statement, two Brevard County commissioners whose districts were directly affected by the project complemented county officials.
Commissioner Andy Anderson called it a "model project." He thanked residents for the patience while work was underway and commended the road crews for their hard work.
"First, I have to applaud our dedicated Public Works staff for their hard work to finish this project in record time," he said. "Second, I have to thank the residents that drive this intersection daily for their cooperation and patience during this project. We know it was an inconvenience, and we appreciate the sacrifices that they have made over these weeks. I think the communication between the county, the cities of Palm Bay and West Melbourne, and the citizens helped make this a successful road project that we can model future ones after."
Commissioner Trudie Infantini thanked fellow commissioners "for their cooperation, recognizing the urgency for funding the repairs of Palm Bay Road, a major artery in my district, District 3. And, obviously, for the efforts of Brevard County Road and Bridge staff. Those guys worked seven days a week to get this done."
While the county has completed the needed repairs to allow traffic to be on the road, there's still more work that will be scheduled to be done in about one month, Denninghoff said.
That includes replacing more asphalt outside the culvert replacement location and continuing to restore the roadway, he said.
He said that work will take place at night, "after peak-hour traffic to minimize impacts to the public and businesses."
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