ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The new San Sebastian River Bridge on U.S. 1 is now open.
The Florida Department of Transportation celebrated the opening of the new four lane bridge today.
Crews finished the $13.5-million project ahead of time to avoid any conflict with the 450th anniversary celebration of the nation's oldest city.
The previous bridge was 51 years old and structurally deficient.
Here are some quick facts about the bridge:
- The original 4-lane bridge was built in 1960 and was experiencing deterioration in the foundations supporting the bridge. On a scale of 1 to 100, its sufficiency rating was 46.4 (the lower the number the more in need of replacement or improvements - the bridge was structurally deficient).
- The existing 4-lane bridge was replaced with a new 4-lane bridge at a slightly higher level (approximately 6 feet) and approximately 3 feet wider to provide a safety buffer between vehicles and pedestrians and to provide a designated bicycle lane on both sides of the bridge.
- The new bridge was built in basically the same footprint as the existing bridge. Traffic was shifted from 12-foot lanes to 10-foot lanes to allow for partial demolition of the existing bridge and to accommodate the construction of the new bridge.
- Pile driving was done during daytime hours 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- In order to provide additional safety, a 2-foot, 8-inch high concrete barrier to separate vehicles from pedestrians was added. Formerly, only a 9-inch high curb separated the traffic from pedestrians.
- A marked 4-foot bicycle lane was added between the pedestrian barrier and the outside travel lanes.
- The bridge lighting was updated to match the aesthetics of historic St. Augustine.
- The bridge was designed with a decorative two-tone paint scheme on the exterior walls.
- The FDOT originally scheduled the project for conventional design but it was converted to design/build to accelerate the schedule in order to be completed before the 450th anniversary celebration.
- The FDOT bid out a design/build contract on Feb. 24, 2011.
- Archer Western Contractors LLC of Jacksonville and GAI Consultants of Jacksonville teamed up and won the contract based on competitive bidding.
- The original contract days were 665 and the contract was for $13,520,000.
- Contract time began April 25, 2011 with design.
- Construction began July 2011.
- Construction was officially completed Feb. 17, 2013 (19 months!)
- The final cost of the project is $13,520,000, which was the original amount.