Built in 1960, the Poley Creek Bridge on Ewell Road in Lakeland does not meet the standards for bridge construction we use today. There is room on the span for two vehicles to pass one another and little else.
Jason Tison and his family live close to the bridge and are very concerned about the safety of those who travel across it.
"You can see the guardrails tightening in and it gives the impression that the lane is probably a little tighter than it should be, so most cars are merging towards the middle," he said.
Two weeks ago, while inside his home, Tison heard the sound of a car crashing on the bridge. It's a sound he and his family have heard many times.
"Extremely loud noise, almost sounded like a cannon going off," he said. "I knew it was an accident. I wasn't sure exactly what type, but I figured it involved the bridge."
The sheared-off wood and bent metal of the guardrail shows the evidence of that crash. According to Tison, the bridge has been struck at least six to eight times in the past few years.
Ewell Road runs straight at the Poley Bridge, and while the speed limit is posted at 45 mph, it is rare to find a vehicle traveling that slowly.
Jay Jarvis, with Polk County Traffic Engineering, has been watching this and many other aging spans in the county. His engineers say the span is safe, but its functionally is obsolete, and it has been placed on a list for replacement.
"This bridge replacement has been placed on the Transportation Division's Unfunded Community Investment Program. Staff is pursuing state funds through a state program to help pay for the bridge replacement."
Drivers can expect to see new warning signs on either approach to the bridge soon and law enforcement is contacted to watch driver speeds. Enforcement of the existing 45 mph speed limit should bring down the number of crashes.