The Astor Bridge is a single-leaf bascule bridge located in Astor, Florida that carries State Road 40 over the St. Johns River; the first bridge on the site was built in 1926. The original Astor Bridge, a wooden structure, was constructed across the St. Johns River in 1926. A steel swing section was constructed, replacing the original wooden structure; the current Astor Bridge was built in 1980, after the previous bridge was deemed dangerous and restricted to vehicles under 10,000 pounds. Residents favored a high-level bridge further south, but a drawbridge located adjacent to the existing bridge was considered the best option from cost and environmental standpoints; the new bridge was constructed by the Houdallie-Duval-Wright Co. of Jacksonville, which had bid $4,060,575 for the project. It opened in October 1980. Following its construction, the previous bridge's bridge tender's house was moved to the Blackwater Inn adjacent to the bridge to the Pioneer Settlement for Creative Arts in Barberville for preservation and display.
After the construction of the current bridge a naming dispute arose between the towns of Astor and Volusia, not resolved until 1989 when the bridge was named the Astor Bridge. The bridge's decking was replaced in the early 1990s, again in a $788,000 project during 2012. There are five bridge tenders, it carries 7,000 vehicles per day. During the 1970s the bridge was considered by the Florida Department of Transportation to be "one of the most hazardous road sections in Florida"; the Astor Bridge was struck by a barge on March 23, 1995. A safety net was tested on the bridge in 1995, to catch any vehicles that overran the bridge when it was open. Crossing the bridge
Gandy Bridge is the southernmost bridge spanning Old Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg, Florida to Tampa, Florida; the original 1924 span was dismantled in 1975. The second bridge, constructed in 1956 was used for vehicular traffic until 1997, when it was converted to recreational use by non-motorized traffic, it became known as the Friendship Trail Bridge and was demolished in 2016, after closing in 2008 due to hazardous conditions and several failed efforts to preserve the span. The third and fourth spans of the Gandy Bridge are being used for vehicle traffic. Three miles long, the Gandy Bridge is one of three bridges connecting the mainland of Hillsborough County and Pinellas County. In 1910, H. Walter Fuller was a director of three companies owned by F. A. Davis. George S. Gandy, Sr was the president of all three companies. Fuller prepared a map including a proposed bridge that would cross upper Tampa Bay following the route of Ninth Street North in St. Petersburg. Gandy partnered with Fuller, incorporating three companies towards design and construction of the bridge.
Survey crews decided to change the route from Ninth Street to Fourth Street. In 1918, World War I required that all projects exceeding $250,000 required a certificate of necessity from the War Industries Board headed by Bernard Baruch; the project was not approved and financing was canceled. Gandy continued alone. In 1922, Gandy hired promoter Eugene M. Elliott to attract new investment. Gandy sold enough stock to finance the bridge, which cost $1,932,000. Construction began in September 1922 and the bridge was completed for a formal opening on November 20, 1924; the steel and concrete bridge spanned a distance of two and a half miles, making it the longest automobile toll bridge in the world at that time. Its double steel bascule drawbridge operated electrically; the original toll to cross the bridge was $.75 for an automobile and driver and $.10 for additional passengers. The bridge stopped collecting tolls on April 27, 1944 after it was seized by the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. On December 23, 1945, a federal jury awarded The Gandy Company $2,383,642 in compensation for the property, plus $100,000 in interest.
The bridge reduced the distance between St. Petersburg from 43 to 19 miles, its location enabled travel by auto along the route of the world's first scheduled airline flight, which operated between Tampa and Saint Petersburg for six months in 1914. The Gandy Bridge opened on November 20, 1924 Sixteen visiting state governors and several foreign dignitaries attended the opening ceremony. During George Gandy's speech, he stated. Efforts to preserve the bridge for recreational purposes were not supported by the Pinellas County Commission, which felt the idea was too expensive, too dangerous, unnecessary. By 1947, state Sen. Raymond Sheldon described the bridge as "outmoded, too narrow and a traffic bottleneck." In 1956 a second higher, fixed span was added to the Gandy Bridge to serve westbound traffic. The first span would serve eastbound traffic until 1975; the second bridge remained in use until February 1997. Years before, the Florida Department of Transportation deemed the bridge structurally deficient to vehicular traffic unless costly repairs were made.
FDOT planned to demolish the middle section of the bridge and leave the remaining fishing pier segments intact. The demolished segments would have been used for an artificial reef; when residents and community groups in both Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties lobbied together against FDOT and the governments of the two counties to save the 1956 bridge, FDOT dropped its demolition plan. After two years of hearings and funding issues, the 1956 bridge reopened to pedestrian and bicycle traffic on December 11, 1999 as the Friendship Trail Bridge. On November 6, 2008, the Friendship Trail was shut down "indefinitely" after a state inspection determined that there were significant structural problems with the bridge's superstructure; the bridge had been decaying for years forcing the closure of the span to vehicular traffic. However, the inspection yielded that the corrosion of the superstructure had worsened and that the overall condition of the bridge was no longer suitable to keep it open due to safety issues.
Only a couple months before, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge's fishing piers were deemed to the same fate. There was a repair plan in place for the bridge that would have repaired the pylons at a cost of $4.2 million. That project was cancelled due to the new developments. December 17 brought further gloom for the trail when preliminary estimates to retrofit the bridge added up to about $30 million. Furthermore, the projected costs would only provide a temporary solution to the structure that would only last about ten years. With the state and the nation in recession, county governments saw no way to meet the staggering costs, leaving the trail closed for good. December 20, 2008 a report done by Kisinger Campo & Associates and SDR Engineering Consultants showed that the bridge could collapse due to the amount of decay on the structure. After the report was released and Pinellas County officials decided to close the entire bridge permanently; the report suggested the following: $4.1 million to retrofit both ends of the bridge only $13 million to demolish the bridge only $30 million to retro
St. Johns River
The St. Johns River is the longest river in the U. S. state of Florida and its most significant one for commercial and recreational use. At 310 miles long, it borders twelve counties; the drop in elevation from headwaters to mouth is less than 30 feet. Numerous lakes are formed by the river or flow into it, but as a river its widest point is nearly 3 miles across; the narrowest point is in an unnavigable marsh in Indian River County. The St. Johns drainage basin of 8,840 square miles includes some of Florida's major wetlands, it is separated into three major basins and two associated watersheds for Lake George and the Ocklawaha River, all managed by the St. Johns River Water Management District. A variety of people have lived on or near the St. Johns, including Paleo-indians, Archaic people, Mocama and Spanish settlers, Seminoles and freemen, Florida crackers, land developers and retirees, it has been the subject of William Bartram's journals, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' books, Harriet Beecher Stowe's letters home.
Although Florida was the location of the first permanent European settlement in what would become the United States, it was the last U. S. territory on the east coast to be developed. When attention was turned to the state, much of the land was overdeveloped in a national zeal for progress; the St. Johns, like many Florida rivers, was altered to make way for agricultural and residential centers, it suffered severe pollution and human interference that has diminished the natural order of life in and around the river. In all, 3.5 million people live within the various watersheds. The St. Johns, named one of 14 American Heritage Rivers in 1998, was number 6 on a list of America's Ten Most Endangered Rivers in 2008. Restoration efforts are under way for the basins around the St. Johns as Florida continues to deal with population increases in the river's vicinity. Starting in Indian River County and meeting the Atlantic Ocean at Duval County, the St. Johns is Florida's primary commercial and recreational waterway.
It flows north from its headwaters, originating in the direction of the Lake Wales Ridge, only elevated at 30 feet above sea level. Because of this low elevation drop, the river has a long backwater, it flows with tides that pass through the barrier islands and up the channel. Uniquely, it shares the same regional terrain as the parallel Kissimmee River, although the Kissimmee flows south; the St. Johns River is separated into three basins and two associated watersheds managed by the St. Johns River Water Management District; because the river flows in a northerly direction, the upper basin is located in the headwaters of the river at its southernmost point. Indian River County is where the river begins as a network of marshes, at a point west of Vero Beach aptly named the St. Johns Marsh in central Florida; the St. Johns River is a blackwater stream, meaning that it is fed by swamps and marshes lying beneath it; the upper basin measures 2,000 square miles. The river touches on the borders of Osceola and Orange Counties, flows through the southeast tip of Seminole County, transitioning into its middle basin a dozen miles or so north of Titusville.
The upper basin of the St. Johns was lowered in the 1920s with the establishment of the Melbourne Tillman drainage project; this drained the St. Johns' headwaters eastward to the Indian River through canals dug across the Ten-Mile Ridge near Palm Bay; as of 2015, these past diversions are being reversed through the first phase of the Canal 1 Rediversion project. The river is at most unpredictable in this basin. Channel flows are not apparent and are unmarked; the most efficient way to travel on this part of the river is by airboat. 3,500 lakes lie within the overall St. Johns watershed; the river flows into many of the lakes. Eight larger lakes and five smaller ones lie in the upper basin. Lakes Washington and Poinsett— named for Joel Roberts Poinsett, a diplomat who brought the poinsettia to the United States— are located further along this stretch of the river; the northernmost points of the upper basin contain the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area, created in 1977 to assist with filtration of waters flowing into the larger St. Johns.
Wetlands in the upper and middle basin are fed by rainwater, trapped by the structure of the surrounding land. It is an oxygen- and nutrient-poor environment. Water levels fluctuate with the subtropical dry seasons. Rain in central and north Florida occurs seasonally during summer and winter, but farther south rain in winter is rare. All plants in these basins must tolerate both flooding and drought. Sweetbay and swamp tupelo tre
The Isaiah David Hart Bridge is a truss bridge that spans the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida, it carries U. S. Route 1 Alternate and State Road 228, it is named after the founder of Jacksonville. It was designed by Parcel; the Isaiah David Hart Bridge was completed in 1967 at a cost of $8.83 million. The official name of the bridge is the Isaiah David Hart Bridge after the founder of Jacksonville, Isaiah Hart; the bridge was built on a bond to be paid off with tolls until they were lifted in 1989. The bridge helped relieve congestion from the Main Street Bridge. In 1999 the Hart Bridge was ranked 19th as one of the longest cantilever bridges in the world; the bridge has traditionally been painted green and is referred to as "The Green Monster" by locals. Daily traffic averages 52,000 vehicles; the stretch of highway between downtown and Beach Boulevard is known as the Commodore Point Expressway, but more referred to by locals as the Hart Bridge Expressway. The bridge is a steel cantilever bridge, a type of continuous truss bridge.
The bridge's main span is uncommon for a cantilever bridge in that the truss over the main channel tapers upward and the roadway below is suspended from the truss by steel hangers. Bridges portal Florida portal Jacksonville, Florida portal List of crossings of the St. Johns River Isaiah D. Hart Bridge at Structurae City of Jacksonville article about the bridges
Sunshine Skyway Bridge
The Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge referred to as the Sunshine Skyway Bridge or the Skyway, is a cable-stayed bridge spanning the Lower Tampa Bay connecting St. Petersburg, Florida to Terra Ceia; the four-lane bridge carries Interstate 275 and U. S. Route 19, passing through Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Manatee County; the current Sunshine Skyway is the second bridge of that name on the site. It was designed by the Figg & Muller Engineering Group and built by the American Bridge Company and is considered a symbol of Florida; the original bridge opened in 1954 and was the site of two major maritime disasters within a few months in 1980. In January 1980, the United States Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn collided with the tanker Capricorn near the bridge, resulting in the sinking of the cutter and the loss of 23 crew members. In May 1980, the freighter MV Summit Venture collided with a bridge support during a sudden squall, resulting in the structural collapse of the southbound span and the deaths of 35 people whose vehicles plunged into Tampa Bay.
The original two-lane bridge was built by the Virginia Bridge Company and opened to traffic on September 6, 1954, with a similar structure built parallel and to the west of it in 1969 to make it a four-lane bridge and bring it to Interstate Highway standards. Opening of the newer span was delayed until 1971 for reinforcing of the south main pier, which had cracked due to insufficient supporting pile depth; the second span was used for all southbound traffic, while the original span was converted to carry northbound traffic. The old bridge replaced a ferry from Point Pinellas to Piney Point. US 19 was extended from St. Petersburg to its current end north; the southbound span of the original bridge was destroyed at 7:33 a.m. on May 9, 1980, when the freighter MV Summit Venture collided with a pier during a sudden squall, sending over 1,200 feet of the bridge plummeting into Tampa Bay. The collision caused six cars, a truck, a Greyhound bus to fall 150 feet into the water, killing 35 people. One man, Wesley MacIntire, survived when his Ford Courier pickup truck landed on the deck of the Summit Venture before falling into the bay.
He sued the company that owned the ship, settled in 1984 for $175,000. Several other drivers - including former major league baseball player Granny Hamner - were able to stop their vehicles before reaching the gap in the roadway. John Lerro, the harbor pilot, steering the ship, was cleared of wrongdoing by both a state grand jury and a Coast Guard investigation. A microburst had hit the freighter with torrential rains and 70 mile per hour winds as it was in the middle of a turn in the shipping channel nearing the bridge, cutting visibility to near zero and temporarily rendering the ship's radar useless. Lerro put the ship's engines into full reverse and ordered the emergency dropping of the anchor as soon as he realized that the freighter was out of the channel, but the bow still hit two support piers with enough force to cause a portion of the roadway to collapse; the south main pier withstood the ship strike without significant damage, but a secondary pier to the south was not designed to withstand such an impact and failed catastrophically.
After the Summit Venture disaster, the southbound span was used as a temporary fishing pier and the northbound span was converted back to carry one lane in either direction until the current bridge opened. Before the old bridge was demolished and hauled away in barges, MacIntire was the last person to drive over it, he was accompanied by his wife, when they reached the top of the bridge, they dropped 35 white carnations into the water, one for each person who died in the disaster. Both the main spans of both the intact northbound bridge and the damaged southbound bridge were demolished in 1993 and the approaches for both old spans were made into the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park; these approaches sit 1⁄2 mile to the west of the current bridge. The approaches of the 1950 span were demolished in 2008. Gov. Graham's idea for the design of the current bridge won out over other proposals, including a tunnel and a simple reconstruction of the broken section of the old bridge that would not have improved shipping conditions.
The new bridge's main span is 50% wider than the old bridge. The piers of the main span and the approaches for 1⁄4 mile in either direction are surrounded by large concrete barriers, called "dolphins", that can protect the bridge piers from collisions by ships larger than the Summit Venture like tankers, container ships, cruise ships. In 1990 FDOT awarded the winning bid to the Hardaway Company to demolish all steel and concrete sections of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge; the scope of the project required that all underwater piles and piers, surface roadway and beams be dismantled. Special care had to be taken in removing underwater bridge elements near the shipping channel. Additionally, the concrete material, deck sections and steel girders were to be collected in order to be placed offshore and along the remaining bridge approaches to become artificial reefs for the new planned state fishing park; the main bridge span had to be removed in one piece in order not to block the main shipping canal leading to the Port of Tampa.
During the disassembly work of the bridges’ structural steel members, several difficult engineering challenges had to be resolved: the order of disassembly, a safe method for detonating charges on concrete and steel members in a publicly open and difficult to control area such as the Tampa Bay, the development of a safe methodology for the removal in one piece
Bridge of Lions
The Bridge of Lions is a double-leaf bascule bridge that spans the Intracoastal Waterway in St. Augustine, United States. A part of State Road A1A, it connects downtown St. Augustine to Anastasia Island across Matanzas Bay. A pair of copies of the marble Medici lions guard the bridge, begun in 1925 and completed in 1927, they were removed in February 2005 and returned in March 2011. Roads & Bridges magazine named the Bridge of Lions as fourth in the nation's top 10 bridges for 2010. Projects were evaluated based on community impact and challenges resolved; the United States Department of Transportation declared the bridge "structurally deficient and functionally obsolete" in 1999, prompting heated debates on what to do with the structure. A restoration plan was approved. Reynolds, Smith & Hills from nearby Jacksonville was awarded the engineering and design contract, estimated at $77 million, projected to require five years to complete. Prior to the Bridge of Lions in 1925, there was a wooden bridge, called "The Bridge to Anastasia Island" or "South Beach railroad bridge".
It was built in 1895, after a major renovation in 1904, the bridge could accommodate a trolley. The span contained no rise, had a movable opening for ship traffic, charged a toll for transit; the old bridge broke down, leading to calls for its replacement over the years. The man considered the "Father of the Bridge of Lions" was Henry Rodenbaugh, the vice president and bridge expert for Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway. In the early 1920s he organized the bond issue to finance the new bridge, selected engineers J. E. Greiner Company to design it—and had his young daughter Jean pour the first bucket of concrete when the work began in 1925, its construction came at the height of the extravagant Florida land boom of the 1920s, the bridge is one of its greatest landmarks. It was designed not to carry cars, but to be a work of art, it cost ten times as much as more prosaic bridges constructed nearby at the same time, it was completed after the land boom busted, the 1927 dedication ceremony had to be paired with the annual Ponce de Leon Celebration in cash-strapped St. Augustine.
The Bridge of Lions is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was included by the National Trust for Historic Preservation on its list of the "11 Most Endangered Historic Sites" in the nation for 1997. The Bridge of Lions was featured on the cover of the Trust's 1999 engagement calendar. From its earliest days, it was hailed as "The Most Beautiful Bridge in Dixie." It has long been a symbol of the nation's oldest city. It gets its name from two Carrara marble Medici lions statues that are copies of those found in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, Italy; the statues were a gift of Dr. Andrew Anderson, the builder of the Markland House, who spent the last decade of his life putting works of art in public places in the Ancient City; the statues were his last gift, he did not live long enough to see them installed. He had them made by the Romanelli Studios in Florence, which a decade earlier had provided him with smaller versions which he displayed on the front steps at Markland; the Medici lions are known for the copies placed in the Throne Room of the Royal Palace of Madrid.
A temporary bridge was constructed adjacent to the original bridge and traffic was diverted to this structure while the original bridge was being rehabilitated and reconstructed to look like its predecessor. After nearly 80 years of service, an official closing ceremony for the original Bridge of Lions was held on May 26, 2006. Isabella Heard, one of the young girls on the lead float in the opening of the bridge in 1927, was there, in a wheelchair, to tie the ribbon for its closing 79 years later. Several components of the original bridge were either rehabilitated or returned to the rehabilitated bridge; the exterior or fascia steel girders were rehabilitated along with the bascule tower piers. Once the rehabilitation of the original bridge was completed, at a total project cost of $80 million and 4 percent over budget, the temporary bridge was removed and used as part of an artificial reef just offshore; the two lions were in safe storage for the duration of the construction. Renovation work was completed on March 2010 when it reopened for use.
Following the removal of the temporary bridge, landscaping, the restored Lion statues were returned after a 6-year absence, early in the morning of March 15, 2011, principally completing the bridge renovation project. The current bridge's west entrance features manicured gazebos, landscaped palmtrees and a new publicly accessible dock extending into the bay; the bridge opens when requested by a vessel only on the hour and half hour between 7:00am and 6:00pm, but not at 8:00am, 12:00pm, 5:00pm except on Saturday and federal holidays. Florida, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides, 2004, pg. 197 staugustine.com - FDOT, Bridge of Lions Rehab Project - http://www.fdotbridgeoflions.com/
The Mid-Bay Bridge is a 141-span, 3.6-mile, two-lane toll bridge in Okaloosa County in the Florida Panhandle. It connects U. S. Highway 98 in Destin to State Road 20 in Niceville; the bridge runs north-south. The bridge crosses part of the Intracoastal Waterway, it was constructed in 1992-93, when the Florida Department of Transportation recognized the growing need for a more direct route between the Destin beaches and the mainland for tourists and to assist hurricane evacuation from population centers and resorts on the Gulf of Mexico. There is one toll plaza at the north end of the bridge; as of October 1, 2015, the one way toll for a standard 2-axle vehicle was $4.00 with cash, $3.00 with the SunPass electronic toll system. The Spence Parkway is an, 11-mile, limited access, 2-lane, separately tolled highway that connects the north end of the Mid-Bay Bridge with SR 85 north of Niceville, Florida. Interchanges at SR 85, SR 285, Forest Road and SR 20 allow easy access from Interstate 10 to Niceville, Miramar Beach, communities East of Niceville along SR 20.
The new Parkway provides shorter travel times by avoiding 13 traffic signals along the previous route through Niceville on SR 20. Additionally, the hurricane evacuation routes from all of south Okaloosa County and western Walton County have been improved; the Spence Parkway is tolled separately from the Mid-Bay Bridge and utilizes “all electronic open-road tolling” that allows customers to pay tolls without slowing down or stopping. Tolls are collected with SunPass transponders or by using a new TOLL-BY-PLATE program being implemented statewide by Florida's Turnpike Enterprise. Mid-Bay Bridge Homepage Florida DOT study on corrosion in the Mid-Bay Bridge