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It seems construction of a controversial – and some say dangerous – bridge on I-95 in Vero Beach is moving full steam ahead despite a judge’s order in September to stop work on the project.

The state Department of Transportation is widening I-95 in both directions for six miles in Indian River County from the southern county line to State Road 60. As part of the $54 million expansion project, DOT needs to shore up the banks of the supposed Lateral D Canal.

The Indian River Farms Water Control District filed a claim that alleged the DOT is proceeding without a permit and endangering residents, farms and businesses near the canal because it has compromised the integrity of the canal’s banks, which could result in flooding. The canal provides drainage and flood protection for more than 9,000 acres of homes, citrus groves, businesses and farms.

According to the newspaper Vero Beach 32963, the DOT argued that a permit from the Indian River Farms Water Control District isn’t necessary, and that the canal banks won’t be impacted in any way.

In the lawsuit, the water control district stated that since the banks that surround the pilings are not being reinforced with concrete, prolonged rain or a bad storm could cause the compromised banks to erode and crumble, and thus create a bottleneck.

Debris then could get caught in that bottleneck, creating a dam, which would mean water backup and flooding of a 90-year-old waterway that was expressly designed to keep water moving and prevent flooding.

Indian River County Judge Cynthia Cox finally sided with the water control district after a couple of months of back and forth, and issued an injunction with “reasonable restrictions to protect the public.” She ordered DOT to “do nothing to destabilize or weaken the canal.”

The court will be taking another look at the project as new evidence is presented. Meanwhile, the DOT is moving forward while assuring the public the canal is safe and the water is flowing.

Stay tuned.

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Vero Beach 32963