By: R. Michael Brown, Civic Association Communications Director -- The Palm Beach Civic Association is calling for the Flagler Memorial Bridge to remain open indefinitely as engineers find a way to either repair it or build a replacement bridge.

Flagler closed

"We have to do everything we can to keep the existing bridge open as long as possible and not allow construction to resume on the new permanent bridge, ” Civic Association Chairman Bob Wright said. “We need the old bridge repaired in some way or an alternative bridge built alongside it.”

Mr. Wright said a proposal to close the bridge on April 1 could be a nightmare for residents, businesses and workers who commute to Palm Beach.

Bob Wright

“Closing the bridge will have a major impact on the island,” Mr. Wright said. “We need to find an alternative to shutting the bridge down.”

Mr. Wright implored the Florida Department of Transportation to summon outside experts to find a solution. “We have to solicit quality engineering support from all over the world – people who build bridges and fix them,” he said.

The Civic Association already has arranged for FDOT to meet Monday with the nation’s largest builder of temporary bridges.

“The mission of the Civic Association is to do everything we can to keep this bridge open,” Mr. Wright said.

In a recent meeting, Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio assured association leaders that Town officials are working hard to address bridge closing issues, but they need more time. “We must pull together as a community,” said the mayor.

The Department of Transportation has temporarily stopped construction on the new bridge because pile driving is causing the existing bridge to settle.  With no construction, DOT says the current bridge is safe for traffic, at least for now.

The Civic Association would agree to close the bridge only if experts say it is unsafe.

“Nobody wants a disaster by doing anything that engineers would consider unsafe,” Mr. Wright said. “But we have to push the envelope here.

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Flagler Bridge closure infuriates some

Palm Beach Island residents packed a question and answer session with the state transportation department to say as loudly as possible that they don't want the bridge closed - even though the state told them they'd already made up their mind. -
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FDOT Wants to Close Flagler Memorial Bridge - Town Residents Say No

The Florida Department of Transportation said the Flagler Memorial Bridge has to close, but those who work and live in Palm Beach said the northernmost bridge that connects the island to West Palm Beach needs to stay open.
Read More (

FDOT Flager Bridge Meeting

FDOT Public Meeting concerning the Flagler Bridge closing and construction. Civic Association Photo, R. Michael Brown

 Dismay, outrage over possible north bridge closure

PB leaders push DOT to keep Flagler Memorial span open throughout construction of replacement bridge.

The Florida Department of Transportation unveiled Monday evening a multipronged plan to ameliorate the headaches expected when the Flagler Memorial Bridge closes permanently around April 1.

Palm Beach leaders and residents attending the public meeting, held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, expressed dismay and even outrage over the pending closure. About 200 people attended.

Acknowledging the inevitable traffic woes and potential for financial loss, the DOT will have PCL Civil Constructors and its crews work around the clock to complete its $94 million replacement by November 2014, about six months ahead of the previous deadline, or even sooner.

Read More (Palm Beach Daily News)

Click the Civic Association Video Below to Watch the FDOT Meeting
Flagler Brige meeting

Click on the Civic Association Video Below to See the Q&A Session with FDOT at the public meeting. Includes Mayor Gail Coniglio, Town Council President David Rosow and many others.

Flagler Bridge QA