Portion of railroad bridge damaged by concrete mixer replaced in downtown Melbourne

Traffic detours continue around Melbourne Avenue

Repairs continue on a section of railroad bridge over Crane Creek in Melbourne damaged when a cement truck mixer crashed into the low-elevation span on Wednesday, June 2. Much of Thursday's effort included replacing a section of trestle. This aging section of the Florida East Coast Railroad is located over Melbourne Avenue. (Image: TIM SHORTT/ FLORIDA TODAY) (Florida Today 2021)

MELBOURNE, Fla. – Major repairs continued Thursday on the damaged railroad bridge spanning Crane Creek in downtown Melbourne, the day after a cement mixer crashed into the low-elevation span, reports News 6 partner Florida Today.

About 11 a.m. Thursday, a large crane hoisted a horizontal replacement segment of trestle aloft from a flatbed trailer, then placed it into position atop the aging Florida East Coast Railway bridge over Melbourne Avenue.

The rusting trestle bridge dates to the 1920s. As repairs continue, workers have braced the bridge by stacking steel beams from the Melbourne Avenue pavement up to the bottom of the structure. Trains continue to traverse the bridge.

Traffic detours continue around the closed portion of Melbourne Avenue, increasing congestion along the New Haven Avenue retail corridor.

The affected roadway will remain closed until further notice, Melbourne police said via Twitter.

Messages seeking comment from FEC spokespeople were not returned Wednesday or Thursday. An FEC worker at the construction site referred questions to the company’s toll-free customer service line.

The cement mixer is owned by a Palm City concrete company, according to a Melbourne police draft crash report.

The driver, a 53-year-old Okeechobee man, was driving east along Melbourne Avenue at 5:55 a.m. Wednesday when he crashed into the bridge, the draft crash report said.

Road signs indicate the railroad bridge clearance height is 11 feet, 7 inches — but the concrete pump truck measures 13 feet, 6 inches tall, the report said.

The driver “forced his way under the tressel, causing severe damage to the tressel and tracks,” the report said. A westbound gray sedan was struck by falling debris.

The cement-mixer driver then drove to the Stuart area, the report said. Police charged him with careless driving and leaving the scene of a crash.

Thursday morning, a small fleet of white trucks from Scott Bridge Co. of Opelika, Alabama, parked along Depot Drive near the repair scene.

On the east side of the damaged bridge, a metal claw-equipped loader stacked wooden railroad ties, and workers cut some using a circular saw.

Alongside the damaged trestle bridge, Brightline crews continue building the first of two new steel-and-concrete bridges for the company’s future Orlando-to-South Florida passenger rail service.

Brightline’s $17 million Crane Creek bridge project — which will remove and replace the rusting bridge that is undergoing repairs — is scheduled to wrap up in May 2022.

The company’s work was not connected with Wednesday’s incident, spokesperson Katie Mitzner said.