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Date of Issue: September 01, 2005

Key Royale Bridge replacement scheduled for next year

The long-awaited replacement of the Key Royale Bridge should begin next spring, according to representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation.

The big question, though, is just how much will it cost to replace the bridge that is the lone access and egress to Key Royale.

DOT’s Ed Ponce said at an informational workshop on the bridge last week that the bridge reconstruction project originally was priced at $1.3 million. Current estimates peg the project at $2.1 million, and Ponce admitted that the price tag could climb once contractors bid on the project in January 2006.

It will take about four months to iron out the details of the project, he added, before work will commence. Construction is scheduled to be completed by early 2007.

DOT intends to replace the current 45-year-old bridge with a wider, slightly higher span. The current bridge has 10-foot-wide lanes; the new bridge will feature 12-foot-wide lanes with a 6.5-foot sidewalk on each side.

The new bridge will also be slightly higher: 10.3 feet versus the current bridge height of 9.3 feet.

During construction - which will probably be mostly done via barge - boat traffic will be banned from the area. Vehicular traffic of at least one lane will be maintained throughout the project, DOT officials have said.

Through a joint participation agreement with the City of Holmes Beach and DOT, the city will pay for the bridge replacement now and be reimbursed by the DOT in the 2008-09 fiscal year.

Questions regarding the project should be addressed to Barbara Combs, DOT project manager, at (863) 519-2536, e-mail barbara.combs@dot.state.fl.us.