1. Will the bridge be raised?
Yes. The main channel span will provide approximately 5′ more clearance than the original bridge. Part of the design process is to evaluate how much the bridge can reasonably be raised. Several constraints are involved with this type of evaluation including user safety, right‐of‐way limits, sight‐distance, ADA requirements, speed limit, and Coast Guard permitting.
2. What is the process of replacing the bridge?
A Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study must be completed to evaluate several criteria when replacing a bridge; especially one over a navigable waterway. In addition to the navigational impacts of the bridge replacement, there are other measures: environmental; safety; users including vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians; traffic; and utilities that need to be evaluated. Once the study evaluates and presents its findings, it must be approved by overseeing agencies and stakeholders. After study approval, bridge design and construction documents are completed, requiring a final level of approval. It is anticipated that construction will take approximately two years to complete after a contractor is selected by the City through competitive bidding.
3. What agencies and stakeholders are involved in the approval process?
The design will require FDOT oversight and approval which will be accomplished through several phases. Through the PD&E study, following agencies provide different levels approval, some requiring permits, for the project to proceed:
- Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
- Federal Emergency Management Agency – Mitigation Division
- Federal Railroad Administration
- Federal Aviation Administration, Airports District Office
- Federal Transit Administrator
- United States Department of the Interior – Bureau of Land Management
- United States Department of the Interior –US Geological Survey
- United States Department of Interior – National Park Service
- United States Department of Interior – US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
- United States Department of Interior – Bureau of Indian Affairs
- United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
- United States Department of Commerce – National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
- United States Department of Agriculture
- United States Department of Health and Human Services
- United States Coast Guard (USCG)
- United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
- United States Environmental Protection Agency
- United States Forest Service
- Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama
- Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma
- Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
- Seminole Tribe of Florida
- Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
- Florida Inland Navigation District
- Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD)
- State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO)
- FDOT Office of Environmental Management
- FDOT District Seven Design Office
- FDOT State Structures Design Office
- Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
- Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
- Florida Department of State
- Florida Department of Environmental Protection
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
- Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council
4. What agency permits have been approved?
Project permits have been approved by the following agencies: Army Corps of Engineers, Pinellas County, Southwest Florida Water Management District and the United States Coast Guard. No further permits are required.
5. What is the Project schedule?
|Study, Final Design and Construction Plans||Summer 2018 to Summer 2020|
|Bidding Phase (after final approval from FDOT)||Late Summer 2020|
|Construction Phase (after selection of Contractor, City Council approval, completion of contract documents)||Winter 2020/2021 through Spring 2023|
A detailed schedule is available on the Timeline and Cost web page.
6. Why did the bridge become so critical all of a sudden?
The bridge has received routine biennial (every other year) inspections and maintenance over its life and the superstructure has received satisfactory ratings over the past several years. As such, the bridge was not on the City’s list of bridges prioritized for immediate replacement. However, during routine maintenance to the structure in August 2017, extensive deterioration including concrete section loss and steel corrosion that had previously been hidden by loose concrete was observed. This led to the immediate closing of the bridge for safety reasons.
In summary, industry standard practices for bridge inspection governed by FHWA and implemented by the FDOT and the City did not reveal what we were able to observe during the removal of loose, degraded concrete, which exposed the extent of the corrosion.
7. Is the bridge safe to cross?
Yes, the bridge is safe to cross. Traffic was diverted away from the deteriorated center slab units that were part of the original 1961 bridge construction, to the outer slab units that were built in the 1991 bridge widening and are still in good condition. The bridge has been load rated for its current configuration and the load posting at the bridge represents the truck weights allowed to safely cross the bridge in its current configuration.
8. Is the project funded for design and construction?
Yes, funds for design and construction are available. Funding sources include Federal (FHWA), Penny for Pinellas (Pinellas County), and City.
9. What is the City doing to ensure the durability, sustainability, and resiliency of the new bridge?
Any bridge located in a marine environment, such as the 40th Avenue NE Bridge, requires special consideration for several aspects such as the corrosive salt water, coastal storm events, and sea level rise. There are standards of practice that exist today that equip new bridges much better than those of years past to counteract and withstand these impacts. The 40th Avenue NE replacement bridge will be designed for a life of at least 75 years.
As exhibited with the existing 40th Avenue NE bridge, chloride intrusion from the salt water is the biggest cause of deterioration in coastal bridges across the state of Florida. City engineers are working with state officials not only to implement current best practices for corrosion resistance but also to implement recent industry innovations for structural durability, such as the use of non‐corrosive reinforcement.
The City is fully committed to delivering sustainable and resilient projects. As such, the new bridge will be designed to withstand impacts from climate change including sea level rise and extreme weather events. The project will meet the requirements of the City’s Integrated Sustainability Action Plan (ISAP).
10. Will the new bridge accommodate accessibility needs for Americans with Disabilities?
Yes. The US Department of Justice published revised regulations for Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 “ADA” in the Federal Register on September 15, 2010. These regulations adopted revised, enforceable accessibility standards called the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design “2010 Standards” or “Standards”. The 2010 Standards set minimum requirements — both scoping and technical — for newly designed and constructed or altered state and local government facilities, public accommodations, and commercial facilities to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.
11. Where should I go to get updates?
Please visit the Project website at: http://www.40thavenuebridge.com/