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"The Civic Association is happy that we could play a significant role in keeping the Flagler Bridge open for everyone who lives and works in Palm Beach. We are grateful to our director Llwyd Ecclestone and our association’s bridge committee of town residents for their leadership."
-- Ned Barnes, President Palm Beach Civic Association
The repair of the Flagler Memorial Bridge reached a major milestone this week. The weight of the bridge and traffic on the bridge is now being supported by the newly-constructed redundant foundation on the main piers, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) officials said.
FDOT expects the $9.4 million emergency repair project will be complete before the end of October and all four lanes on the bridge will be open to traffic by November 1 without any restrictions. The pedestrian walkway on the north side of the bridge will also reopen at that time. The November 1 completion means the project will finish 60 days early.
Archer Western, a Tampa-based contractor, began repairs on the 86-year-old bridge in early June, so it could remain open until the new $94.2 million replacement bridge is completed. The repairs were designed to prevent further settlement that occurred when the construction of the replacement bridge began in September 2012. The contract allowed 210 days to complete the repairs and Archer Western will earn a $675,000 bonus for early completion.
The repair work consisted of installing 67 micropiles around the four main bridge piers to create a redundant foundation to absorb the bridge weight load. Structural brackets were bolted to the existing bridge foundation and then attached to the micropiles. Archer Western still has other miscellaneous work to do before the project is complete. Most of the work has been done at night to minimize traffic disruption and traffic was detoured during overnight bridge closures between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Since November 2012, the bridge has been restricted to one lane in each direction and there has been a ban on vehicles weighing more than 5 tons.
Completion of the repair project will allow PCL Civil Constructors, the company building the replacement bridge, to resume a normal work schedule. Completion is expected in fall 2016.