BRYCEVILLE, Fla. -- Debby's relentless rain overpowered a Nassau County bridge Wednesday morning. Bryceville's Brandy Branch Creek swallowed the bridge on 301 near Otis Road and drivers are now having to put up with detours. The force of flooding was just too much for the structure, which was built in the 1940's.
"I wouldn't have even imagined that bridge would have snapped," said Bryceville resident Jeremy Johnson. "I was just in awe at the way the asphalt broke clean and the way the bridge just collapsed in."
It's a safe bet that the bridge was brought down by rushing water. But the lead engineer for the repairs, Phil Cleland, told Action News that specifics surrounding the failure won't be known until it's removed from the creek.
Police were posted both north and south of the Brandy Branch Creek Bridge directing drivers to detours. This is an area folks expected to get easier to travel around.
The Florida Department of Transportation was already planning to knock the structure down and build a new, wider bridge when 301 expands to four lanes. But Mother Nature got a jump start on the project.
"It shows you how Mother Nature does take in her forces whatever we built and it gets ripped from the ground," said Johnson.
After the bridge went down, detour signs went up and it's causing some confusion. Drivers told Action News that the detours will add up to 20 minutes to their travel time when going in and out of Bryceville.
Cleland said it will take a couple weeks to get a temporary bridge in place.
According to FDOT Spokesperson Mike Goldman, the 301 expansion project will be completed by Fall 2014. A 14 mile stretch of 301 spanning the Duval County line to south of Callahan will feature a four-lane road.