MARCO ISLAND — A sneak peak of the new Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge will help travelers span the time between now and late 2011, when the two-lane southbound bridge to Marco Island is to be open right alongside the existing bridge.
Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman Debbie Tower announced an open house scheduled from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Jan. 13, at the United Church of Marco Island, 320 N. Barfield Dr., to share information about the approximate $25.5 million federal stimulus project.
Construction of the new bridge, which will run 20 feet west of and parallel to the existing bridge, is to begin in the days following the meeting and be complete by November 2011, Tower said.
“We want to have a productive meeting, one that gives the community good information about the specific start date, schedule, approach to construction, etc.,” she said.
Johnson Brothers and FIGG were awarded the contract to construct the additional two-lane span in September. The design-build team’s $25.5 million proposal was the only bid under the $28.3 million budget.
Traffic in both directions will continue to use the existing two-lane bridge, originally built in 1969, while the new span is constructed, said Johnny Limbaugh, director of FDOT’s District 1. Both spans are scheduled to be in use by November 2011.
In January, utilities are to be relocated, existing dilapidated fishing piers demolished and barges brought in, Tower wrote in a prepared release Monday.
Road work along Collier Boulevard from Buttonwood Drive to the bridge is scheduled to begin in April.
Then, two northbound travel lanes approaching the existing bridge are to be built. Two-way traffic will temporarily be shifted to these lanes. Once the bridge is built, all traffic will temporarily shift to the new bridge. Eventually, the existing bridge will carry northbound traffic and the new bridge will carry southbound traffic.
The new span is expected to be used as early as January 2011, when northbound traffic will use one lane on the existing span and southbound traffic will use one lane on the new span, Tower said.
Boaters will be able to use the channel under the bridge, which is to remain the same height as the existing bridge. Fishing along the shoreline will cease in the construction area until complete, officials reported.
Landscaping and designs at the foot of the bridge continued to be tweaked as late as Monday night when Marco officials made requests for FDOT to leave room for the city’s future linear park.
“We received the concerns and we’re fortunate the contractor is willing to work with us,” Limbaugh said.
Beach access concerns on the southeast side of the bridge were resolved by not constructing the originally proposed guard rail and retention wall there, Tower said.
The only thing that could not be changed as requested by Marco’s Beautification Advisory Committee was the height of the railing on the bridge.
Tower said it was a safety versus aesthetic issue.
Marco Island Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Milk, who shared several of the city’s initial concerns, said he was pleased with the final outcome, particularly the linear trail, which will be made of shells and look similar to Marco’s existing Jane Hittler Park.
Any savings from changes will be put toward additional landscaping improvements, which Limbaugh estimated would cost about $300,000.
Construction of the bridge is expected to cost $25.5 million, with management and inspection costing an additional $2.2 million, Tower said.
The project was $300,000 under budget before any changes and that money was tagged for bridge repairs in Naples. There was not enough money to replace the existing fishing piers, estimated to cost $1.3 million, which were irreparable due to extensive storm damage, Tower said.
Councilman Ted Forcht questioned if a fishing pier could be added at any point.
“We could find a way to do the fishing piers between now and replacement of the other span,” Limbaugh said.
The existing span has a 25-year lifespan.