County prepares for No Name Bridge renovation

By Steve Estes

The Monroe Board of County Commissioners Wednesday will take what should be the final step in getting approval to renovate the No Name Key Bridge.

The county must sign an agreement with the state that allows Florida Department of Transportation to funnel federal money into the project to renovate the nearly 50-year-old span across Bogie Channel that is the only vehicular link to the remote island of No Name Key.

Monroe County will have to pony up about $1.6 million in road and bridge money for its share of the $6.3 million project.

Right now, planning and design work on the bridge is slated to be completed by the end of January 2014. A construction contract is supposed to be agreed upon by June 30, 2014 and the construction itself completed by June 30, 2015.

Under the project’s scope of work, crews are to do repair work on the bridge deck, beams, columns, bearings, bent caps and pile jackets.

Work is also slated to repair concrete spalling and rebar corrosion on the deck and sidewalks.

The final phase will be to clean or replace rebar, repair any spalling issues in other locations and repair or replace bearings and bridge joints.

According to county officials, traffic will have to be maintained on at least one lane for the duration of the project since the bridge is the only link to the island.

In recent bridge inspection reports, the No Name Bridge ranked always in the top four worst bridges for condition in Monroe County. It is one of 42 bridges on the county road system, although the state is supplying the bulk of the money to fix the issues.

The repairs being contemplated should add about 10 years to the useful life of the span, according to County Engineer Kevin Wilson, but a longer term fix will be necessary in the next decade or so.

No Name is just one of the county’s bridges that have either exceeded their anticipated useful life span or are on the verge of doing so.

County Commissioners recently authorized $2.5 million yearly from infrastructure sales tax money to go toward a backlog of road and bridge projects. Coupled with the gas tax proceeds, which have been dropping in recent years as cars become more fuel efficient and gas prices rise. Officials believe the may be able to toss $5 million each year at the estimated $30 million backlog in projects.

They will get a boost on the total dollars from the Cudjoe Regional wastewater contract where more than $25 million is already built into the contract to repave roads disturbed by pipe trenching.

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