All four lanes of Jolley Bridge open to traffic

— The straight and narrow path to get to and from Marco Island was made a little wider Wednesday.

With construction on a new parallel section of the Jolley Bridge nearing an end, all lanes of traffic opened on the new and existing bridge.

The Jolley Bridge, which has been under construction since January 2010, now has an enhanced new bridge adjacent to the recently-renovated existing bridge to improve traffic flow and capacity for Marco Island – where standstill traffic can be the norm during tourist season.

It will be a soft opening for the new-look Jolley Bridge as crews continue to complete construction.

“There will be rolling lane closures,” says Debbie Tower, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Transportation, as crews continue work to stripe the bridge and finish landscaping and irrigation projects. The lane closures, she said, will primarily happen at night or during times of light traffic.

“The original plan was to open the roadway on the last day of the project,” Tower said, adding the project is expected to be completed on time in the middle to end of October.

However, Tower said the final weeks of the construction can be done “efficiently and safely” with lanes open to the public most of the day.

The $25.5 million project to expand the Jolley Bridge was funded with federal stimulus money as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The new bridge offers an additional two-lane span with 12-foot lanes, emergency shoulders an either side of the lanes, and an 8-foot bike and walking path protected from automobile traffic by a barrier. The new bridge will also include street lights.

FIGG/Johnson Brothers was contracted as the design-build team.

Lanes on the new Jolley Bridge were partially opened this summer when crews worked on the existing bridge. However, Wednesday will mark the first time all four lanes are open to traffic.

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Comments » 8

happy6 writes:

perhaps ms. tower can explain the interesting concept with the handrails on the new span...they go up and down as opposed to running level to the ground...also...there are no handrails at the top of the span...strange...guess they ran out of free money.

FlEngr writes:

The Rails go "Up and Down" because the side walk and hand rails must conform to ADA requirements.

The bridge grade is greater than 5%, therefore ramps and landings must be provided for ADA, along with a handrail that, "follows the path of the ramps and landings..."

Is it ugly and weird as you drive, you bet, but it is a regulation that the engineers must conform to ensure access to the sidewalk that accomodates all persons, regardless of situation.

So take a stroll on the sidewalk and the reason for the railings will be appreciated ;)

Also, the railings are ONLY required where the bridge grade exceeds 5%, therefore, as the bridge curve tapers off toward the top and bottom, they are not required any more and are therefore not placed on the structure.

Hope this helps...

marco97 writes:

I approached the bridge in the left lane coming on the island and three cars in the right lane cut me off moving into my lane thinking they still needed to merge, nice driving, almost hit me for no reason.

happy6 writes:

thanks explained it perfectly...still looks weird and especially the last section as you go onto the island...

Fossil writes:

Thank you, Presidents Bush and Obama. This bridge represents tax dollars returned to us. Wish the richest 1 % would start contributing to this country like the rest of us do.

happy6 writes:

FOSSIL you are truly showing your ignorance...the fed says the "stimulus is faltering" can't tax or buy your way out of this mess...only jobs can help...i for one do not want someone else to support me...i want to keep what i earn myself....let's get behind the 9/9/9 plan

Ruger writes:

It was a nice surprise on my way home yesterday.

Thanks for the info FlEngr.

RayPray writes:

in response to Fossil:

Thank you, Presidents Bush and Obama. This bridge represents tax dollars returned to us. Wish the richest 1 % would start contributing to this country like the rest of us do.

Here is the best way to solve our economic mess.

Anyone not living off Welfare, disability, Affirmative in-Action, or some snoozy government job must be re-classified as a greedy $ millionaire.

Then their taxes should be hiked to, say, 95% so they will pay their fair share.

Meanwhile, teachers unions should forget about teaching the inmates of our public schools anything related to science and engineering and instead focus on pidgen versions of useful Oriental languages, so these kids will have scant trouble down the road hopping to orders barked out to them by their future Asian masters.

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