FL Updates Bridge Painting Project Timeline
Coatings and concrete work reportedly began earlier this month on the Royal Park Bridge in Palm Beach, Florida. Closures are expected to result from the $2.3 million project from the Florida Department of Transportation, prior to its anticipated completion in spring 2024.
Crews will reportedly remove and replace the bridge’s steel coatings, as well as clear and repaint the concrete parts of the bridge’s span. Initially, the project timeline was expected to start by May 2022; however, the project was delayed twice in 2022 because of difficulties acquiring materials and concerns about the island’s busy winter season.
Closing one of the bridges westbound lanes could create “traffic headaches” for residents and visitors coming in to and leaving the area, said Kirk Blouin, Town Manager. The construction is expected to cause eastbound and westbound lane closures to occur periodically.
"Traffic is always a great concern in this community," Blouin said. "Closing down one lane would lead to disruption in our traffic patterns."
FDOT expects Royal Park Bridge painting project to be finished by spring 2024https://t.co/6vZhtFnaWD— Jodie Wagner (@JRWagner5) May 8, 2023
Work on the project will take place during the day and be sequenced to reduce the effects of construction on the community, FDOT said.
FDOT also expects overnight bridge closures throughout the project, as well as channel restrictions. Additionally, traffic will be given a detour over the Flagler Memorial Bridge and pedestrian detours will be in place in the event of any sidewalk closures.
Painting Work Delay
In September 2022, after receiving a delay request from the town of Palm Beach, FDOT postponed painting the Royal Park Bridge until this year. The agreement arrived as town officials expressed concern over travel restrictions during the upcoming winter season.
Originally built in 1929, the Royal Park Bridge is a steel and concrete bascule bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway on FL 704. The structure was replaced and reopened to traffic in 2004 after a $53.5 million reconstruction project.
The largest span reaches 202.4 feet for a total length of 1091.3 feet. The bridge is owned by FDOT, and its last available inspection from 2018 listed the structure in overall “good” condition.
Initially anticipated to begin in May, the $2,335,538 project was pushed back to September because of difficulties in acquiring materials. The contract was awarded to Seminole Equipment, Inc. of Tarpon Springs, Florida.
Concerned about traffic impacts, the Town Council reached out to FDOT earlier that summer requesting to delay the project. However, the department was reportedly unable to accommodate the request because it had already awarded the contract.
Council member Ted Cooney said at the time that while the Royal Park Bridge was in dire need of a paint job, the project should have been scheduled in a way that minimized traffic.
“We all know that traffic through the Okeechobee corridor is abysmal at best, and most of that is out of our control,” Blouin said at a meeting in July last year. “The Royal Park Bridge is our highest-use bridge. It's a major conduit. It's an area during season and at rush hour that I try to avoid to the best of my ability.”