News & Reviews News Wire Tugboat strikes FEC-Brightline drawbridge in Stuart, Fla.

Tugboat strikes FEC-Brightline drawbridge in Stuart, Fla.

By | September 30, 2023

Bridge to remain down, blocking marine traffic, pending inspection; rail movements continue

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Boat approaches open drawbridge
A large pleasure craft prepares to pass through the raised drawbridge at Stuart, Fla., in January 2017. A tugboat struck the bridge on Saturday, Sept. 30, forcing it to remain closed pending inspection. Bob Johnston

STUART, Fla. — The Florida East Coast Railway drawbridge over the St. Lucie River was rendered impassible to marine traffic today (Saturday, Sept. 30) after being struck by a tugboat pulling a barge, according to information from Brightline posted on the Martin County Board of County Commissioners Facebook page.

The tugboat struck the northwest fender of the bridge about 2:10 p.m. The bridge will remain closed overnight. Rail traffic can continue to use the bridge because it was in the down position at the time of the accident, WPTV reports. Inspectors are scheduled to provide an update on the bridge condition on Sunday. Updates will be available via Brightline’s bridge app and at the drawbridge information website.

12 thoughts on “Tugboat strikes FEC-Brightline drawbridge in Stuart, Fla.

  1. I have taken ships through the east coast, Florida, the south is full of cowboys that have no busy being near the water. Was the crew of the tug tested for booze, drugs? How many hours was the “old man” at the helm? What was the condition of the tug and barge?

    You don’t just run into a big railroad bridge fender! There must be more to the story.

  2. It is not the first time a barge has hit a fender near the railroad bridge. However, dates and times of previous barge collisions were not available.

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

  3. As can be understood, Brightline and freight trains are able to pass through the St. Lucie River Railway Bridge with no problem.

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

  4. I spent a fair amount of time in Stewart during my assignment in SoFlo. Saw lots of private and commercial pleasure boats sail through the open span. Not once did I see a tug let alone one with a barge.

  5. Authorities interviewed the Captain of the tug, Boaty McBoatface, who was quoted as saying: “Bridge? What bridge? I didn’t see no stinkin’ bridge!”

  6. I swear that bridge in that town has gotten more heat in the past 6 years. What is Rep. Mast going to do now? Twist the USCG arms again and ban tugs and barges?
    On the flip side, if that bridge gets closed from a boat hit again, look for a spending bill in Congress with a rider to pay for a new bridge toot sweet.

    1. Mast would rather the bridge and tracks be moved than ban a single tug boat or barge, his local office is over there. Same goes for expecting Mast to put in any bill let alone Vote for a new bridge or anything that benefits his constituents. He Voted NO for the budget that has disaster relief funding in it, the same funding that Florida always has it’s hands out for when a Hurricane strikes.

  7. As asked of me when I had my first accident and I put a small dent in a Cadillac with my Dads 49 Ford, “CAN’T YOU SEE A THING AS BIG AS A BRIDGE?”

    1. Another Good one. Michael and Robert you made me laugh and believe me, I needed to laugh today…

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