Because of the importance of the bridge for the region, an emphasis was placed on completing the entire 2.26 million-square-foot bridge within a four-year period.
“To meet the owner’s expected design and construction schedule, the team had to maintain a construction average pace of 1,300 square feet of new bridge per contract day,” Rudie said. “In preparation, the teams developed specific design and construction approaches to create the best opportunities to meet that schedule.”
Once traffic moves to the new span, the current bridge will be demolished, and construction of the westbound span will begin. The project also includes reconstruction of the highway approaching the bridge and improvements to public facilities in the Gulf Breeze Wayside Park.
The design provides several landmark aesthetic features, including a wishbone tied-arch main span and multi-color aesthetic lighting that will create a ribbon of light across the bay.
“The arches are designed to maximize the visual impact from all perspectives while also being durable and easily maintained,” Poulson said. “The architectural details of the tower-supported shade structures and piers mimic the arch’s wishbone, providing scenic views from both the low- and high-level segments of the bridge.”
While pedestrian paths on bridges are common, the use of paths on both sides of the bridge is rather unusual. The decision to provide dual pedestrian paths was driven by strong community involvement in the design process.
“These paths will feature scenic overlooks and shade structures in addition to educational plaques and other features selected by the community to highlight the local area and history, encouraging walkers and cyclists to explore the bridge and enjoy the journey from shore-to-shore,” Poulson said.
Attention now turns toward the construction of the westbound span bridge. The entire bridge is scheduled for completion by mid-2021.
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