FDOT Schedules Bridge Rehab Project
The Florida Department of Transportation recently announced that the Mid-Bay Bridge in Okaloosa County, Florida, has been scheduled for a $3.1 million rehabilitation project, starting this month.
According to a report from Get the Coast, the 31-year-old bridge, which connects Destin and Niceville, will undergo inspections and routine maintenance work over the next year to prolong its service life.
The report states that work is expected to start at the end of this month, finishing by Spring 2025. The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority is reportedly funding the project through toll revenue, according to board member Parker Destin.
“The Mid-Bay Bridge has its 31st birthday this year and is technically middle aged. This rehabilitation project is a smart investment in the ‘health’ of the bridge to ensure that it can continue to be operated at the highest levels of safety while hopefully meeting and exceeding its original lifespan,” Destin said.
The Mid-Bay Bridge is undergoing a $3.1 million maintenance project to address structural concerns and enhance safety. Learn about the ongoing work, temporary lane closures, and the commitment to prolong the bridge’s usability. ??— Mid Bay News (@MidBayNews) January 18, 2024
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The work will reportedly focus on concrete surface repairs from wear and tear over years of use. According to FDOT, there have been some chips and cracks in the bridge’s concrete.
“FDOT is doing some surface concrete repairs. There’s been spalling on the bridge, which is typical. It’s just more routine maintenance,” said Ian Satter, an FDOT spokesperson. “They’re going to be repairing and patching some surface areas of the bridge, fixing some of the areas where the concrete might have chipped.”
Satter added that the maintenance is routine, and the bridge is still structurally sound.
“Just like every bridge, they require maintenance just like your home or vehicle. So we’re just doing routine maintenance of that. This helps with the longevity of the structure and by performing this routine maintenance, we can make sure that bridge can exist to its expected lifespan,” he said.
According to the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority, these concrete repairs are like fixing potholes or chipped driveways. The bridge will also be fully sealed to help it perform and last longer, according to the authority.
In addition to concrete work, crews also plan to paint the beams underneath the bridge, while new reflective markers are also installed along the centerline of the bridge to help alert drivers if they drift lanes.
The bridge authority stated that the new raised pavement markers came from a safety study that the authority had done with the Department of Transportation to help notify motorists that they were entering the center line area.
According to another report from the MidBay News, the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority will be responsible for paying the costs of the bridge from revenues generated by tolls and determining toll rates, though FDOT will covers costs for maintenance, policing and the collection of tolls and remittance to the authority.
“There won’t be complete closures. There will just be some restrictions like down to one lane in one direction,” Satter said, noting that the overnight work will allow traffic to keep flowing, although slower.
The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority stated that only a couple hundred vehicles cross the bridge overnight per hour.
“I can’t say [this bridge will last] 100 years, but I can tell you, it’s going to live far, far longer, and safely past its original lifespan,” Destin said.
Other FL Bridge Work
In September 2022, after receiving a delay request from the town of Palm Beach, FDOT postponed painting the Royal Park Bridge. 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.
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 then 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.
Then, in May of last year, coatings and concrete work reportedly began on the bridge. Closures were expected to result from the $2.3 million project from FDOT, prior to its previously anticipated completion in spring 2024.
Work on the project was to take place during the day and be sequenced to reduce the effects of construction on the community, FDOT said.
In November 2023, FDOT announced that maintenance work on the Royal Park Bridge had been accomplished five months earlier than initially expected. According to a report from Palm Beach Daily News, all travel lanes were back open to traffic as the bascule-style bridge awaited final approval from the department.
According to the report, the bridge painting contractor removed the equipment from the bridge as maintenance had wrapped up.
Town officials said that the project's completion, in addition to a modified operating schedule that was temporarily implemented at the Flagler Memorial Bridge, is expected to help reduce the town’s traffic.
Additionally, the town reportedly requested similar measure be taken for the Southern Boulevard Bridge, where construction began in 2017, citing the temporary adjustments made by the U.S. Coast Guard to the operating schedule for the Flagler Memorial Bridge.