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Marco Island to replace 'functionally obsolete' Winterberry bridge, design cost near $1M

Thousands in Marco Island every year drive or walk over an obsolete bridge built in 1967 which does not meet current road design standards.

A 2017 inspection report shows the bridge on Winterberry Drive near South Heathwood Drive has exposed steel, corroded rebars and deteriorated deck joints but that is not why Florida Department of Transportation classified it as functionally obsolete.

"The bridge is functionally obsolete since the roadway lanes are too narrow and there is only one narrow sidewalk or walkway, Public Works Director Timothy Pinter wrote on March 17. "There are numerous deficiencies that have been listed on reports prepared by FDOT concerning these issues as well as underwater inspections."

The report rates the deck geometry of the bridge as intolerable and in need of replacement.

"This is the last bridge over a navigable waterway that we need to replace," Pinter said.

On March 16, City Council authorized the city manager to execute a bridge design contract in the amount of $937,021.95 to TY Lin International. The funds will come from Public Works' capital improvement program.

The engineering firm will be in charge of creating a preliminary bridge report and a final design of the bridge, according to Pinter.

Pinter said the new bridge would be a steel structure with a higher elevation and sidewalks on both sides.

"We are going to look at widening the throat of the canal at that area to provide more water transfer between the two basins," Pinter said.

Public Works Director Timothy Pinter speaks during a Marco Island City Council meeting on March 16, 2020.

The bridge construction might last 12 to 18 months depending on the type of design selected, according to Pinter. 

"If in fact a steel bridge is selected, [...] we can prefabricate [...]  like we did part of the Smokehouse bridge," Pinter said.

If composite concrete is chosen it might take up 18 months, according to Pinter.

Pinter said there is no estimate on how much it will cost to built it.

"There is no estimate of construction at this time, Pinter wrote. "The estimate is part of the design process that TY Lin will create."

Omar Rodríguez Ortiz is a community reporter for Naples Daily News and Marco Eagle. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram as @Omar_fromPR, and on Facebook. Support his work by subscribing to Naples Daily News.