How many bridges does an island city claim responsibility for?
That’s a question Wilton Manors Commissioners must consider as the budget review process approaches with infrastructure a priority.
The city’s comprehensive plan notes there are 16 bridges in the coastal planning area. Maintenance is distributed among other municipalities, Broward County, the State of Florida and Florida East Coast Railroad.
“Bridges are important when the water rises and you’re stuck on an island and can’t get off,” Commissioner Mike Bracchi said.
Commissioner Gary Resnick knows what that is like. Resnick brought up the issue at the end of the Dec. 8 commission meeting.
“We also own a couple of bridges that we are responsible for and with the water that we had in October and November they were almost impassable including the Jenada Bridge,” Resnick said.
The Jenada Bridge is located on NW 29th Street in the city’s northwestern tip and is part of the only road on and off Jenada Isles. The bridge spans a canal that connects the North and South Forks of the Middle River. It is of particular interest to Resnick who lives on the island.
“We need to talk about what we’re going to do to see what capital work is necessary and have staff evaluate the bridges we own,” Resnick said.
David Archacki, Wilton Manors emergency management/utility director, said the city owns half of three other bridges. The South Dixie Hwy. & NE 15th Ave. bridges are shared with Fort Lauderdale. The NE 16th Avenue bridge is shared with Oakland Park.
Archacki said his department receives regular inspection reports from the Florida Department of Transportation and there are no structural deficiencies in the city’s bridges.
Meanwhile, if there is another extreme weather event, Resnick said there are other options for shelter.
“I talked to FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] in respect to flood insurance if there is flooding over a bridge they will pay for people to stay in hotels until they can get back to reach their houses,” he said.
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