MARCO ISLAND — Five firms presented alternative design options for the replacement of the Smokehouse Bay Bridge during Monday’s City Council workshop.
The city budgeted about $12 million for the project and all bids were under that budget, unless utility movement, pedestrian access, fishing pier and other extra elements were included.
One of the lower priced bridges was designed by H.W. Lochner with a cost estimate between $7 to $9 million. The design is an inclined arch bridge and the plan would be to use the current bridge as a construction platform to save costs.
The bridge would have a life span of 100 years and firm representatives said the movement of utilities at a cost of about $1 million would still keep the project at or under the city budget.
All presentations included a higher clearance under the bridge, fishing piers, pedestrian and bike paths linking the bridge to the Esplanade, Veterans’ Community Park and Jane Hittler Park, although many of those features weren’t included in the bid prices.
Smokehouse Bay Bridge is located on Collier Boulevard near the Esplanade and Winn-Dixie.
Each firm received $20,000 and the city reserves rights to use any portion of their ideas, Public Works Director Rony Joel said.
Resident Darrell Brown presented a sixth idea for what he called a “boat bridge” where vehicle traffic would travel under the boat traffic.
Councilman Bill Trotter voiced some concern about Brown’s tunnel design holding up to a storm surge. Brown said his idea could be constructed at a much lower cost.
Joel said city staff can look into his plan and if it holds up, hire a firm to design it.
Other design options:
- Volkert’s $9.9 million to $11 million design allowed for greater vertical clearance, more than 14 feet, allowing bigger boats to travel underneath and therefore increasing property values. Designers boasted that no underside bird roosting space was available to create messes.
- TBE Group’s design to turn the existing two-span bridge to a one-span bridge could be done quicker than the two-year schedule proposed by using the Lutheran Church lot for material storage and perhaps compensating the church for usage. The plan had numerous levels of aesthetics available with various lighting and art options available.
- TRC Worldwide Engineering’s design focused on pedestrian access and fishing pier options. They estimated $6.7 million for roadway and bridge reconstruction. Extras, including utility relocation, bay walk and landscaping were $7 million.
- Tylin International, which recently presented Collier County with plans for the widening of Davis Boulevard and State Road 951 north of Marco, offered an $8.1 million concrete beam option and a $9.4 million steel arch option with utility upgrades included in the project. They proposed separated decks for the two-way traffic with lighting and the ability to hide utilities between decks.
Their plan included minimal traffic disruption by shifting from the old bridge to the new bridge.
Resident Larry Carlen of Marco Lutheran Church said he liked the proposal by Volkert best in both the design of the bridge and design of the pedestrian pathway.
“I thought it was best because of the simplicity, thinness of the arch,” he said.
Discussion among councilors and residents on the bridge designs presented during the council workshop Monday were limited.
“This is just a start,” said Chairman Rob Popoff.
There are future opportunities to view the plans at the Orion Bank “In the Round” June 22 and at workshops to be scheduled before the council decision anticipated in September.
Presentations from each firm are available in the related links to the left. Also check related stories for other discussions and votes from Monday's City Council meeting.