MARCO ISLAND — A crane much taller than the bridge it will help build arrived on a large barge Tuesday as expansion work for Marco’s Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge kicks into higher gear.
The crane from New Orleans has motorists rubbernecking as they arrive and leave the Island, causing delays along Collier Boulevard despite the lack of construction movement on the existing bridge and roadway.
The crane and two barges arrived on site Tuesday, confirmed Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman Debbie Tower.
“The crane is lifting and placing spuds on the barges. Spuds are large tubes that go into the water and hold the barges in place. Essentially, this activity is part of the contractor’s mobilization on site in preparation for actual bridge construction,” Tower said.
The stimulus project will add an additional bridge with two lanes for vehicles driving southbound to Marco and the existing two-lane bridge will remain for travel off the Island.
Construction of the bridge is expected to cost $25.5 million, with management and inspection costing an additional $2.2 million, Tower said.
Johnson Brothers and FIGG were awarded the contract to construct the additional two-lane span in September 2009 and the project is expected to be complete near the end of 2011, she reports.