Whether you’re traveling by land or by sea in the Daytona Beach area on Florida’s east coast, chances are you’ve noticed the flurry of activity where US 92 meets the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW). Since January of 1999, work has been underway on a much-needed replacement for the outdated drawbridge — the Broadway Bridge — that has served automobile and boat traffic for years.
According to the Florida Department of Transportation’s Project Manager Ed Hudec, “The new bridge will be a high rise design using the same box segmental construction technique that can be seen on the new Sea Breeze Boulevard Bridge just north of the Broadway project. At completion, the Broadway Bridge will be comprised of 372 pre-cast concrete segments. Placement of the segments — each about 24 feet wide by 24 feet in length — is the next scheduled phase of construction.”
Working on the site with a consulting team of ten daily inspectors and with primary contractor Misener Marine’s nearly 100-man crew, Hudec is responsible for keeping the bridge replacement running smoothly and on schedule. Construction on the new bridge is currently at about the halfway point. “We’re right on time for a May 2001 completion date,” Hudec said.
As with any urban redevelopment project, Hudec noted that his biggest challenge with the Broadway Bridge replacement has been keeping disruptions to automobile and boat traffic to a minimum. Events at Daytona’s world-renowned International Speedway keep local access roads busy, while a traditional springtime increase in boating on the Intercoastal Waterway means frequent marine traffic in the area, too. Despite the surrounding activity, seals and footings for piers have been finished, pier segments cast, and assembly of the enormous gantry crane that workers will use to move the segments into place is nearly complete.
Because the gantry crane measures nearly 304.8 meters (1,000 ft.), passersby have mistaken its huge frame for the bridge itself, Hudec reported. “With the gantry in place, we’ll start moving the segments in from the pre-cast yard,” he said. “By late April or early May, local residents will see the bridge begin to take shape.” Other equipment on the scene includes seven 9410 cranes, mounted on land and on barges; pusher boats; a half-dozen work barges; and a multitude of loaders.
Along with placing the pre-cast segments, upcoming work to be done also includes driving the fender piling, forming and placing more piers, and beginning demolition of the existing bridge’s eastbound end spans to provide access so that pier substructure can be built.
With the new bridge in place next year, Hudec expects Daytona residents and visitors to find the span a much more visually appealing structure than the old drawbridge. Consisting of two lanes of traffic in each direction, the new bridge features space for full shoulders and sidewalks on both sides. Its towering 19.8-meters (65 ft.) of vertical clearance should please boaters, too, since eliminating the drawbridge is expected to decrease marine traffic delays by 60 percent.
Local political leader, Jim Ward, chairman of the Volusia County Council, predicts that the new bridge will “greatly enhance economic development and traffic patterns” in Daytona. “We have $200 million in development projects under way in the Daytona area at present,” Ward noted. “The new bridge design also will allow us to free a parcel of land near the footprint on the mainland side of the old bridge. One of the uses we’re currently discussing for this is an arts project that will help efforts to revitalize Daytona’s downtown district.” Ward expressed Volusia County’s appreciation for the joint federal and state monies funding the bridge construction.