32963 Homepage

Want to purchase reprints of your favorite 32963 or photos?

Copies of Vero Beach 32963 can be obtained at the following locations:


Our office HQ: (located at 4855 North A1A)
1. Corey's Pharmacy
2. 7-Eleven

(South A1A)
3. Major Real Estate Offices


1. Vero Beach Book

2. Classic Car Wash
3. Divine Animal
4. Sunshine Furniture

5. Many Medical

Sebastian Inlet bridge set to be replaced in 2026

STORY BY SAMANTHA BAITA (Week of December 9, 2021)

The 57-year-old bridge spanning the Sebastian Inlet to link the Brevard and Indian River barrier islands is set to be replaced in late 2026, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.

Indian River County Municipal Planning Organization Staff Director Brian Freeman said the project is budgeted “at $78 million. So far.”

The 1,548-foot bridge with one northbound lane and one southbound lane and no median divider was repaired and rebuilt in 1978 and again in 2003, but the Metropolitan Planning Organization was set to discuss the planned full-replacement project this Wednesday.

In addition to replacing an aging bridge, “the new bridge will address deficiencies in the bicycle and pedestrian network along Highway A1A by providing 8-foot-wide, paved shoulders, sufficient to accommodate buffered bike lanes, and 12-foot-wide, barrier-separated shared use  paths for bikers and pedestrians along both sides,” Freeman said.

If all goes according to schedule, FDOT says initial work on the design phase of the project will start this coming summer, with a study to be completed a year later.

 Then 2024 will be spent on right-of-way acquisition and other legal and technical details. The final design should be ready in mid-2025 with construction to begin in the winter of 2026. The progress of the study and the design are expected to be a topic of interest at MPO and various local government meetings until the replacement is complete.

The James H. Pruitt Memorial Bridge, commonly called the Sebastian Inlet bridge, was evaluated by District Four on Nov. 14, 2018 following Hurricane Florence. Based on this evaluation the bridge was rated as structurally deficient with a sufficiency rating of 51.6 and a health index of 79.8.

The FDOT Bridge Policy dictates that bridges should be replaced within six years of being deemed structurally deficient. Bridges with a health index of less than 85 require repairs or replacement.

The bridge, with its scenic river-to-ocean vistas, is a major thoroughfare for 32963 residents who work, golf, shop, dine or play in Brevard County.

As to traffic impact during the bridge replacement, Freeman says, “my understanding is that two-way traffic will remain open throughout the project. Depending on the alignment selected, half of the new bridge will be constructed either along the east or west side of the existing bridge.

“When that half of the new bridge is complete, traffic will then be shifted over to that portion of the new bridge. Then the existing bridge will be demolished, and the other half of the new bridge will be constructed in the location of the existing bridge.”

Sebastian Inlet is one of five navigable channels that connect the Indian River Lagoon to the Atlantic Ocean. Campgrounds and a boat ramp are located at the southern entrance and fishing occurs at the north entrance. A swimming cove and beach area are also located to the northwest of the bridge.

South of the Sebastian Inlet, the closest connection of the lagoon to the Atlantic Ocean is the Fort Pierce Inlet 28 miles away.  The closest connection in Brevard is the Port Canaveral Inlet 29 miles to the north.