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Bridge in Gainesville neighborhood collapses due to flooding from Tropical Storm Elsa

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - One community in Northeast Alachua County is feeling the effects of flooding since Tropical Storm Elsa came through.

People living on NE 100th Ave. off Waldo Rd. are faced with dealing with a collapsed bridge that’s trapping residents inside their homes.

One resident said they’re putting limestone down to build a better foundation for a temporary bridge, to help people in the neighborhood get out.

The bridge, that connects the street over a brook, was wiped out by rain from the storm.

“We have 63 people that are back here and if we hadn’t fashioned this, they wouldn’t be getting groceries,” said Bart Cruce, a resident of the neighborhood. “They wouldn’t be getting fresh water because at this point we’re having to boil water.”

Cruce said the bridge lasted 50 years until Irma hit in 2017. It was built back after the storm, but taken out again by Elsa.

“We’re basically on our own,” said Cruce.

He’s just one of the many residents who feel that way. That’s because this street is privately owned.

“If you live on infrastructure that is publicly owned then you have an expectation, but if you make the decision to live on private property and create your own infrastructure, you are responsible for it and it’s really as simple as that,” said Mark Sexton, Communications Director for Alachua County.

Sexton said the taxes residents pay only go to public infrastructure.

“It is illegal for Alachua County to use taxpayer dollars to make improvements on private property. It is illegal.”

Sexton said the county has offered to front the money to fix the bridge, but the residents declined the loan.

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