Inspections begin on Sanibel bridges

Inspections begin on Sanibel bridges

By Julie Salomone. CREATED Jul 12, 2013 - UPDATED: Jul 12, 2013

SANIBEL, FLA.-  Lee County Department of Transportation and contractor T.Y. Lin International started inspecting the Sanibel Bridge on Friday morning.

Donna Puma runs Pinocchio's Original Italian Ice Cream shop. It's been on Sanibel Island for 33 years.

"So you travel the bridge," asked reporter Julie Salomone.

"Everyday, me and my family," said Puma. 

She is just one of many drivers taking the Sanibel bridge to get to work.

"5:30 in the morning mostly restaurant staff and hotel staff coming over the bridge so it can be quite busy," said Puma.
On Friday, crews started inspecting the three bridges for cracks. They are checking to see if there has been any increase in a crack's length or width in any of the bridge beams since the last inspection. Charlie Elliott is the certified bridge inspector on the project. 
"At the first inspection, we found hairline cracks so it's more of a check up on them make sure they're not getting any bigger so far what we're seeing is they're not getting any bigger," said Charlie Elliott, certified bridge inspector.
Elliott says the cracks are small. 
"It's not a safety issue. It's more of when the bridges were build the concrete dried alittle faster than what we expected maybe because of the humidity," said Elliott. 
Crews will work from the shoulders of the bridges and there may only be very minor traffic disruptions. Tourists are glad to learn the work is taking place. 
"Hopefully my three children will eventually bring their family here and continue the tradition so safety is everything. I'd love to know the up keep is happening," said Kim Diestel, tourist. 
The work is expected to be done on weekdays from 8:00am and 4:30pm, weather permitting. The work should be complete by July 31st.