In March 2016 the SR A1A North Causeway Bridge (Bridge Identification Number 940045) was inspected and certain aspects of the bridge were found to be structurally deficient.
The superstructure and substructure of the bridge obtained satisfactory ratings, yet the poor condition of the bridge deck was deemed structurally deficient. Additionally, the bridge does not meet the navigational guide clearance requirements set forth by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) of 125-feet horizontal clearance. The existing bridge has only 90 feet between the fenders. The bridge operational characteristics were also analyzed. Based on drawbridge opening data collected, a little more than one third of the daily bridge openings interrupt vehicular traffic flows during peak hour/peak volume traffic periods. Therefore, this bridge is categorized as an operational area of concern and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) determined that the bridge should be replaced.
A previous study conducted in July 2011 recommended replacement of the deck as the most practical and cost effective solution to the deficient part of the bridge structure. Nevertheless, due to the naturally corrosive environment which will continue to degrade the rest of the bridge structure, the insufficient horizontal clearance, and the poor operational characteristics of the current bridge.
New facility will provide:
- 8 ft. sidewalk, 10 ft. East Coast Greenway Shared Use Path along SR A1A, 7ft. buffered bicycle lanes on US 1, SR A1A, and Juanita Avenue extension
- High-level fixed bridge with 85 ft. vertical clearance at main channel span
- Continuous flow of vehicular traffic over the AICW by eliminating bascule span
- SR A1A crossing over of the FEC Railway
- Reduction of vehicles using at-grade-crossing from 8,000 per day to 100
- Observation Deck beneath the new bridge structure
- Restoration of access to local businesses by extending Juanita Avenue from US 1 to Old Dixie Highway
- Improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists
The existing bridge has pedestrian facilities on one side. The proposed design will provide a 10-ft wide shared-use path on the north side to accommodate the East Coast Greenway (https://www.greenway.org/) and 8-ft sidewalk on the south side (both separated from traffic by a barrier) as well as accommodations for bicyclists.
- Perform traffic analysis to improve operation
A detailed traffic analysis was performed during the PD&E study. This traffic analysis will consider other improvements (transit, roadway, etc.) planned nearby this project and their effect on traffic flow.
- Evaluate bridge replacement alternatives
The project team will evaluate bridge replacement alternatives that will address structural deficiencies of the bridge as well as operational concerns associated with frequent openings.
- Minimize environmental impacts associated with improvements
The project is located within the Indian River-Vero Beach to Ft. Pierce aquatic preserve, and is in an environmentally sensitive area that is used for recreation. The project team will evaluate design alternatives to avoid and minimize impacts to environmental resources resulting from replacement of the bridge. The avoidance and minimization of environmental impacts includes natural, physical, social and cultural resources within the project area. A mitigation plan will be evaluated to compensate for unavoidable impacts.