Barge and Crane Hit Brooks Bridge Causing 60 Mile Detour Until Sunrise This Morning

UPDATE: 6:30a.m. Thursday

All lanes on the Brooks Bridge (U.S. 98) in Okaloosa County are open to traffic as of 6:30 a.m. this morning.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) bridge inspectors have determined the Brooks Bridge on U.S. 98 in Okaloosa County is structurally sound after a series of assessments were performed last night.

FDOT inspected the structure after a barge collided with the bridge on Wednesday, March 20, causing damage to barrier wall and Okaloosa County water lines. The mishap caused motorists to take a 60 mile detour for a while across the Mid Bay Bridge. Tolls were no in effect during the night.

Tolls on the Mid-Bay Bridge were reinstated as of 6 a.m. Thursday morning.

The east bound lanes of Brooks Bridge, which connects Okaloosa Island and Fort Walton Beach, remain closed.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office says a crane on a barge hit the bridge around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, causing damage to a barrier wall and Okaloosa County water lines.

Shortly before 9:00 p.m., Florida Department of Transportation engineers determined the bridge is structurally sound.

Westbound lanes re-opened around 6:00 p.m. But eastbound lanes will remain closed until FDOT and Okaloosa County repair the damage.

Okaloosa Water & Sewer is asking residents and visitors to curtail water use at this time. Commercial businesses on the Okaloosa Island water main are also being asked to use as little water as possible. Water pressure must be conserved in case of a fire.

The bridge closing has created a 60 mile detour for motorists trying to get from one side to the other.

The shortest detour is north on State Road 85, east on State Road 20 in Valpraiso and then right on the Mid-Bay Bridge road. While the east bound lanes are closed, tolls on the Mid-Bay Bridge will remain suspended.