Some projects deserve commendation. That's why I want to mention here the reopening, scheduled for next week, of the Flagler Memorial Bridge.
First, some background. The bridge carries Florida's State Road A1A from West Palm Beach to the barrier island that Palm Beach sits on. The bridge has served decades, well past its useful lifespan. Plans were made for a replacement, and construction on that began in 2012. That's when problems arose. Vibrations from the construction activities for the new bridge affected the old span, causing it to settle.
What do you do when an 86-year-old bridge starts sinking? The Florida Department of Transportation rushed to get bids, and the Tampa office of Archer Western, a unit of Walsh Construction, stepped in for emergency repairs. Those began in June, and the firm installed 67 micropiles to shore up the four main piers and absorb the load. Brackets bolted to the existing bridge foundation were attached to the micropiles. It's a quick solution for a client who really needed it.
Archer Western had 210 days to finish the repairs. They had a $15,000 a day incentive to finish early, and it must have worked. The contractor is taking home a $675,000 bonus, FDOT says.
Kudos to the crews at Archer Western, who worked quickly to keep above water a bridge that'll likely see demolition soon, anyway. That may sound mean or a little sarcastic, but it's not. I bet the residents of Palm Beach appreciate ready access to the mainland.
Archer Western's hard work now allows the folks at PCL Civil Constructors to get back to work on the Flagler Memorial's $94.2 million replacement without fear of the original failing before they finish in fall 2016.