Special Town Council Meeting: Flagler Memorial Bridge Update – “You have yourselves a bridge”

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Town Council chambers. Mayor Gail Coniglio, Council President David Rosow, President Pro Tem Robert Wildrick, Councilmen William Diamond, Richard Kleid and Michael Pucillo all present.

Rosow: Not a town hall forum. No public comments.

Coniglio: We have been very fortunate with response from government officials. Community wants bridge to remain open. Assurance of smooth operation of Royal Park Bridge during construction.

Asks for unvarnished truth, the good, bad and the ugly.

Introduces DOT staff in room.

Ananth Prasad, secretary, Florida Department of Transportation: Good to be here. Niece got married at The Breakers, have familiarity with Palm Beach. Family in Miami, Boca Raton, Delray Beach.

Where are we going?

Flagler Bridge constructed in 1938. Life span 50 years. Currently build for 80-year lifespan.

Infrastructure important issue.

Three rehabs over the past 25 years.

Functionally obsolete.

If bridge is unsafe, we close it.

Goes over construction schedule, closures, settlement, etc.

Doesn’t know how deep the pilings are. No records.

Standard policy to keep roads open. Temporary closures sometimes, depending.

Ocean Avenue bridge in Lantana not a DOT project (closed).

After settlement, engineers are conservative, called for closure of bridge due to safety issues.

Wanted to know if bridge should be closed, repaired…

Commends Coniglio for her efforts. Notes Llywd Ecclestone meeting with Governor Rick Scott.

What are we gonna do?

Costly effort. Create a “redundant foundation system” around existing bridge. Driving micropiles around bridge perimeter on three side. Displace soil the least amount. Takes timber piles out of the equation.

Work to be done at night. May have to close at night. Won’t close bridge.

Will take six months to repair bridge, cost $5 million-plus. Bridge will stay in place until new bridge is built.

Applause in the chamber.

Current completion is fall 2015, will push back for as long as it takes to repair bridge.

If repair takes six months to complete, new bridge construction will begin after that.

“You have yourselves a bridge.”

The $94 million budget will be exceeded.

Do our darnedest to keep the existing bridge open.

Micropiles have to be ordered. Then work can begin.

Traffic management plan developed in case of a daytime bridge closure.