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Report: Bear Cut Bridge Westbound Lanes Closed For Up To 1 Year

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Driving to Virginia Key and Key Biscayne will become much more difficult for up to a year after state and county workers found "structural deficiencies" with the westbound lanes of the Bear Cut Bridge, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.

The westbound lanes were shutdown Friday morning and the two eastbound lanes were turned into one lane heading to Key Biscayne and one lane heading toward the mainland. The county will begin evaluating and repairing corroded steel beams immediately.

The closure will cause major headaches going forward, but will be especially burdensome when the Sony Open tennis tournament is held in March at the Crandon Park Tennis Center. According to the Herald, County and Key Biscayne leaders are working to find the best way to alleviate the heavy traffic associated with the tournament.

The Sony Open issued a statement about the Bear Cut Bridge problem Friday afternoon. Spokesman Adam Barrett said:

"We work closely with the County every year to address traffic and parking concerns during the event. The County understands the importance of finding a solution that addresses both public safety and the convenience of tournament guests and we will continue to work with them to resolve any concerns."

According to the Herald, the problem surrounds the bridge's steel beams, or girders, which have corroded which support the surface of the bridge where vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians travel.

The Herald reported the last Florida Department of Transportation inspection report showed Bear Cut Bridge was "structurally deficient" which means the bridge either needs to be replaced or repaired within six years. The bridge has consistently received that rating since June 2008, the Herald reported.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)

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