Duck Key Bridge Updates
4/9 Update: American Empire Builders completed the concrete pour to strengthen the Bimini Drive bridge on April 8. The concrete will need to cure and strengthen before traffic can drive on it. The target date to open the northside of the bridge to traffic is Monday, April 19. When it opens, the vehicle weight limit on the Bimini Bridge will be returned to the Florida Legal loads.
Florida Keys Electric Cooperative (FKEC) has been onsite at the Bimini Bridge performing directional drilling operations to install underwater electric lines. They anticipate completing the work by April 16, at which time Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) is planning to mobilize to begin the underwater installation of its utility lines.
Coordination and planning for the temporary work at the Harbor and Seaview bridges is ongoing. Once Bimini Drive Bridge is open to heavier traffic, the contractor and the utility companies will begin work at the two bridges. The initial work will temporarily relocate the utilities off of the existing structures so that the interim strengthening work can be performed.
3/24 Update: The temporary traffic signal at Schooner Drive is being removed. All remaining traffic signals are being reprogrammed to accommodate the removal of this signal and allow for quicker access across the Bimini Bridge. The roadway has been temporarily closed in this area as a result of safety concerns. All traffic is to follow the detours onto Corsair Drive and use the traffic signal there to cross the bridge.
3/8 Update: At this week’s construction progress meeting, the contractor reported that the concrete pour last week completed the strengthening work on the Bimini Bridge abutments. He is currently installing brackets, hangers, reinforcing steel and temporary supports under the bridge to begin the beam strengthening work. The contractor anticipates pouring concrete to strengthen the beams in approximately two weeks.
In addition, the preliminary engineering plans and calculations for the interim projects on the Harbor and Seaview bridges were approved by the County’s engineer and are being finalized. The contractor is working with utilities to begin temporary relocations for the interim work and the County’s engineering consultant is coordinating with permitting agencies as needed. The work on these two bridges will be performed simultaneously and it will begin as soon as the temporary strengthening work on the Bimini Bridge is completed in early to mid-April.
Due to challenges presented by the greater span length of both bridges the interim work on the Harbor and Seaview bridges will consist of replacing the existing concrete beams and deck with steel beams and a heavy timber deck rather than strengthen the existing concrete. When the work is complete, the allowable weight limit will be increased to the Florida Legal Load limit instead of a 30-ton limit as initially anticipated.
At the same meeting, the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority indicated that their contractor planned to mobilize at the Bimini Bridge the first week in April to begin the directional drilling work to install subaqueous water and sewer lines.
2/25 Update: The interim strengthening work on the Bimini Drive Bridge is progressing. The contractor has completed the demolition of a portion of the east bridge abutment and has installed rebar and forms in preparation for concrete pouring. Demolition of part of the west abutment and rebar installation is in progress and the contractor expects to complete concrete installation next week. Upon completion of the temporary strengthening work on the abutments, the contractor will fabricate and install the temporary supports for the bridge beams and deck.
AEB has submitted preliminary engineering plans and calculations for the interim projects on Harbor and Seaview bridges to the county’s engineer for review and approval. Due to challenges presented by the greater span length of both bridges the contractor is proposing to replace the existing concrete beams and deck with steel beams and a heavy timber deck rather than strengthen the existing concrete. The benefit of this approach will be the elimination of the weight restriction instead of keeping a 30-ton limit as was initially anticipated, as well as a reduction of future demolition costs when the full replacement of Harbor and Seaview bridges is undertaken. Coordination with utilities for relocations that will be needed has begun and communication with permitting agencies for the work at Harbor and Seaview is ongoing.
Project staff is evaluating alternatives for placing warning signs near the Seaview Bridge to alert boaters of the closure at Bimini Bridge before they travel down the canal.
American Empire Builders, Inc. has implemented the temporary one-lane/two-way traffic condition in accordance with Traffic Control Plans phase 1 at Bimini Bridge. Advanced Message Boards have been installed on-site. Traffic will remain on the existing south side of the bridge and will be controlled by a portable temporary signal 24 hours a day until the completion of this phase.
The Bimini Drive Bridge traffic signals are on a timer. All golf cart and pedestrian traffic are to obey the traffic signals in order to cross the bridge.
Utility Relocation - FKEC Work Status
Several new poles have been installed near the project area as well as underground contractor tasks are being completed that are required to be done prior to the new Bimini Drive Bridge.
- The temporary overhead tie line will be constructed Feb. 17-19, weather permitting.
- The associated system reconfigurations will follow, tentative to start Feb. 22.
- Underground contractor work going on north of the bridge and on Vista lane for the next week or two.
For questions, contact: Michael J Roberge, Director of Engineering, Florida Keys Electric Cooperative, Office: 305-852-1034, Cell: 231-675-8500.
- Bimini Drive Bridge: 10-ton weight limit
- Harbour Drive Bridge: 4-ton weight limit
- Seaview Bridge: 4-ton weight limit
The ratings for Harbour Drive and Seaview bridges are lower than the initial rapid analysis suggested. Signage has been replaced to notify residents and visitors of the change. County staff and design consultants are evaluating options to strengthen the two bridges for the interim period until the replacement of the bridges can take place. The County is providing weight certifications for Duck Key vehicles at the Long Key transfer station at no cost.
The strengthening of Harbour Drive and Seaview bridges will occur after the Bimini bridge strengthening is completed.