Florida's Bear Cut Bridge runs between Virginia Key and Key Biscayne in Miami-Dade County. Built in 1944, it was showing its age last January when an inspection revealed dangerously corroded beams. But the decaying beams weren't the span's only hidden danger.
According to the Miami Herald, a contractor working on the repairs has also found potentially hazardous asbestos on the bridge.
The Herald reports that Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez wrote last week to county commissioners to notify them about Kiewit Infrastructure's discovery of asbestos at the Bear Cut Bridge. Gimenez told the commissioners that an estimated $750,000 must be earmarked for asbestos removal.
The asbestos abatement will slow the project down by at least 36 days, according to the memo, but everything possible is being explored to keep the project on an expedited track.
Asbestos was a commonplace construction material up until the 1970s, valued for its strength and fire resistance. Asbestos is an excellent insulator, and on the Bear Cut Bridge it was found in tubes that encase street light wires.
If undisturbed, asbestos within building materials doesn't pose much of a threat. But repairs can rupture asbestos-containing materials and release microscopic fibers into the air. If inhaled, those asbestos fibers can lead to devastating diseases such as mesothelioma, a rare and fatal cancer.
Because the symptoms of asbestos-related diseases often don't appear until decades after exposure, more than 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the U.S. each year. Exposure to asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Call Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation.