Mid Bay Bridge To Undergo Maintenance For All of 2024 – No Full Closures, Though. Details:

Mid Bay Bridge To Undergo Maintenance For All of 2024 – No Full Closures, Though. Details:

The Mid-Bay Bridge
The Mid-Bay Bridge is undergoing a $3.1 million maintenance project to address structural concerns and enhance safety. Learn about the ongoing work, temporary lane closures, and the commitment to prolong the bridge's usability. 🚗

The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority will pay $3.1 million to rehabilitate the bridge that bears its name. 

Work will begin on the bridge on January 29th and will go on until the spring of next year, according to Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Public Information Officer Ian Satter. FDOT will perform the maintenance. “This work is part of FDOT’s ongoing commitment to extend the service life of the state’s bridges through inspection and preventative maintenance,” Satter said in a phone call about the maintenance. 

RELATED: Boyles Versus The Bridge: Commissioner Loses Fight Over Mid-Bay Bridge Request To State Legislature

“Drivers may encounter temporary lane closures on the Mid-Bay Bridge Sunday through Thursday evenings between 8 PM and 7 AM,” noted a flyer sent through the mail to the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), “No lane closures or other construction-related traffic impacts will occur during holidays or special events.” While lanes may close during those times, the bridge will remain open to travel throughout construction, Satter added.

FDOT leadership asks people driving on the bridge, especially during those work hours, to stay vigilant for FDOT crew members. 

While the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority remains responsible for paying the costs of the bridge from revenues generated by tolls and determining toll rates – FDOT bears the burdens of maintenance, policing and the collection of tolls and remittance to The Authority. 

 

Why Maintenance Now?

The Mid-Bay Bridge opened three decades ago to the travelling public, in 1993. Bridges of this type, segmental concrete bridges, have a typical life of about 50 years before they need to be replaced, according to Mid-Bay Bridge Board Member Parker Destin. “The bridge is going to have it’s 31st birthday this year. It has approximately a 50 year lifespan, so it’s middle-aged. It requires ongoing maintenance and repair. And this is part of that, so we can avoid all of that so [the public] can avoid big and substantial maintenance and repairs to the bridge.” 

The maintainence team working on the bridge is particularly concerned with a weakness of bridges like this called ‘spalling.’ Spalling happens when concrete structures that make up the bridge begin to flake due to moisture intrusion – due to the satwater environment the bridge sits atop. 

In short, spalling leads to more spalling – which exposes the steel rebar to the elements. That steel then rusts, expands and literally bends the bridge out of shape. Warped bridges typically are frowned upon in the civil engineering profession, as they tend to collapse. 

The team doing the repairs will focus on the concrete structures closest to the water, according to Mid-Bay Bridge Board Member Destin. “There was cracking and spalling of the superstructure underneath that condo that collapsed in Miami,” Destin noted, “Water intrusion, and not addressing it in reinforced concrete structures is a big no-no.”

The project will also inlcude restriping and sealing of the roadway on top of the bridge. 

 

man smiling
Parker Destin is a candidate for the Okaloosa County School Board District 2 seat.

Replacing the Bridge

Reading that last section may get you to wonder what the authority is doing to prepare for the day when the bridge will not be safe for service. After all, the 50-year lifespan ends in 2043 – the same amount of time between today and 2005.

Destin says the Bridge Authority Board decided to focus on lengthening the time the bridge is usable through maintenance and new technology, including cabling and new steel technology. “I can’t say [this bridge will last] 100 years, but I can tell you, it’s going to live far, far longer, and safely past its original lifespan,” Destin said. 

Christopher Saul

Christopher Saul

Christopher Saul is the publisher of Mid Bay News. He graduated from Southern Methodist University's School of Journalism with a Convergance Journalism Degree and a Master's Degree in Public Administration From Florida State.

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