Light poles still out along Lake Jesup Bridge after Hurricane Irma

Florida Turnpike Enterprise to send out repair bids within 3 months

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - It's been almost five months since Hurricane Irma tore through Central Florida and residents say they still see damage the storm left behind, including on the roads.

Drivers say light poles along the Lake Jesup Bridge on State Road 417 in Seminole County haven't been working since the storm. 

Sandy Kociolek drives across the bridge at least three times a week towing a trailer full of pool cleaning supplies. 

"Night is when I have the most problems," Kocioleck said. "It's definitely more dangerous within the last five months." 

Driving along the highway, News 6 counted several light poles snapped along the northbound lanes of the bridge. Drivers said with the lights out, the road isn't safe.

"It's dark and can get a little rough at times with not being able to see across there, especially when it gets foggy," driver Randy Maxwell said. 

The Florida Turnpike Enterprise manages that stretch of SR 417.  

Officials said they are still trying to recover after last year's hurricane season. Due to the impact of the storms, officials said road infrastructure components, like highway light poles, are in high demand.

Turnpike officials said they have to repair 18 light poles. They are also inspecting the remaining poles to make sure they are not damaged.

"We are finalizing the scope of work for the contract and we anticipate the contract to be advertised and let in the next two to three months," turnpike officials said in a statement. 

"I hope it gets fixed very soon," Kocioleck said. 

Drivers said until the lights come back on, they are being careful while crossing the bridge.

"I drive a lot safer. I want to make sure I don't get hit or go over the side of the bridge. That place is full of alligators," Maxwell said.

Despite drivers calling the bridge dangerous, Florida Highway Patrol troopers say there haven't been any crashes at that location in the last six months. While the lights are out, troopers are urging drivers to obey the speed limit and watch out for an hazards on the road. 

Copyright 2018 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.