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Camino Real bridge finally reopens

Bicycles and moms pushing baby strollers crossed the Camino Real bridge from the east. Even before dignitaries cut the ribbon on the other side.

“It always takes longer to restore than to build,” County Commissioner Robert Weinroth said about the 16-month project.

A white drone flew overhead to capture the moment. Flown by Alex Baader, senior inspector for AE Engineering, the company and county workers gathered in hardhats to watch.

But locals were by far the most excited about the re-opening at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

“I gained 10 pounds,” Martin Parjea joked about the long closure.

Christine Schilling Boccia with her daughter and granddaughter were among locals who came out to cross the Camino Real bridge when it reopened Tuesday morning.

“Once we saw it would open, we said ‘we have to there,’ ” Parjea said with Lucy Duque.

“Fabulous. That’s why we’re here. We couldn’t wait,” said Gloria Hascoat.

“It’s bigger,” she noticed about the new wider sidewalks. “I’ve been crossing that bridge since we moved here in August 1988.”

Her granddaughter was just born at West Boca Medical Center when the bridge closed in April 2018, said Christine Schilling Boccia. She had to factor in a commute. “You timed your life around it.”

Lilly Louise Gonzales was in a stroller pushed by her mom for the occasion.

A podium and flags were set up on the tarmac outside the Boca Raton Resort & Club for the hoopla. Elected officials gathered to cut a red ribbon.

“Any way you can create a gateway to luxury, it’s good for the community,” noted John C. Tolbert, the Resort’s president and managing director.

By Marci Shatzman

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