Concerns are looming in Martin County over the potential negative impact of the St. Lucie Railroad Bridge closures on local boating businesses. The local boating community is worried about the detrimental effects of the upcoming increased Brightline schedule to Orlando, set to begin next week. The St. Lucie Railroad Bridge is a crucial transportation link for boaters in Martin County. It allows them to navigate the St. Lucie River, connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the Okeechobee Waterway. However, the bridge's frequent closures have been a cause for concern among boaters for quite some time. Brightline, a high-speed passenger rail service, plans to expand its operations to include a route between Miami and Orlando. As part of this expansion, the train's schedule will be significantly increased, which means the St. Lucie Railroad Bridge will have to close more frequently to accommodate the train's passage. Local boaters fear that these more frequent closures will have a negative impact on their businesses, as it will limit their access to the river and potentially discourage customers from visiting. The boating industry plays a significant role in the local economy, attracting tourists and providing employment opportunities. Any disruptions to this industry could have far-reaching consequences for the community. Boaters are concerned about the potential loss of revenue during the bridge closures. They rely on the river as a key route to reach popular fishing and boating destinations, such as the St. Lucie Inlet and the Indian River Lagoon. If the closures become more frequent and prolonged, it could deter boaters from making the trip to Martin County altogether. Local business owners are also worried about the impact on tourism. Boating and fishing are major attractions for visitors to the area, and any disruptions to these activities could discourage tourists from coming to Martin County. With tourism being such a vital part of the local economy, it is crucial to find a balance that allows for the expansion of Brightline while minimizing the negative effects on the boating industry. Efforts are being made to address the concerns of the boating community. Brightline has been working with local stakeholders to explore potential solutions. One proposed solution is to construct a new bridge parallel to the St. Lucie Railroad Bridge, which would alleviate the need for frequent closures. However, this solution would require significant financial investment and construction time, making it a long-term solution rather than an immediate fix. In the short term, Brightline has committed to keeping the bridge open as much as possible during busy weekends and holidays, in an effort to minimize disruption to boaters and local businesses. They are also working on improving communication with the boating community to provide advance notice of any bridge closures. Local officials and community leaders are also advocating for the boaters' concerns. They recognize the importance of the boating industry to the local economy and are actively working to ensure a balance between rail expansion and maintaining the livelihoods of boaters and local businesses. It is essential for all stakeholders involved to collaborate and find a solution that benefits everyone. The expansion of Brightline is an exciting development for the region, bringing economic opportunities and improved transportation options. However, it should not come at the expense of the local boating industry, which has been a mainstay of the community for years. In the long term, it may be necessary to explore alternative transportation options for the train that would minimize bridge closures. Advances in technology, such as raised rail systems or tunnels, could offer potential solutions. However, these options would require significant investment and planning, making them long-term projects that may not provide immediate relief to the boating community. As the Brightline schedule to Orlando is set to ramp up next week, it is crucial for all parties to continue their dialogue and find ways to mitigate the potential negative impact on the boating industry. By working together, it is possible to strike a balance that allows for the growth of both Brightline and the local boating businesses, ensuring the long-term prosperity of the entire community.
top of page
bottom of page