BRADENTON -- Demolition of the historic 12th Avenue bridge in the Wares Creek neighborhood began Thursday as part of a project to improve water flow and avoid flooding.
This is the second of three bridges to be rebuilt as part of a sister project to the $51.8 million Cedar Hammock-Wares Creek Flood project.
"It is all an integrated concept as part of the dredging of the creek," engineering section manager Jim McLellan said. "Without improvement to the bridges, it would create a 'pinch point.' By replacing them with structures that have more carrying capacity, it increases the creek's capacity to carry water, avoiding flooding."
The first couple of days of demolition will focus on removing the handrail of the historic bridge, which is being salvaged and reused on the new bridge.
"We have to maintain a component of the existing bridge, and the handrail is the easiest and the most visible," McLellan said.
Construction of the new bridge is scheduled to be completed by August. Work will then begin on the 14th Avenue bridge. Combined with a drainage upgrade, the work on the two bridges is expected to cost $2.4 million.
Half of the funding for this project is being provided by a grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The rest has
been funded by a low-interest loan acquired by the city from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Work on both bridges is being completed by Quality Enterprises USA Inc., a Naples-based contractor. Quality recently worked for Manatee County on the Riverview Boulevard bridge.
Throughout the duration of construction, 12th Avenue will be closed from 20th to 22nd streets. Homeowners who live on these blocks, however, will have access.
"We had a much trickier situation with the traffic situation at the Ninth Avenue bridge because of Ballard Elementary," McLellan said.
Work on the Wares Creek Flood Project will continue to move forward with work on the retention wall along the creek from 21st to 30th streets west tentatively scheduled to begin in April. PAC Comm Inc. was awarded the contract for this portion of the project.
An appeal against the bid delayed work that had been scheduled to begin in February.
The Wares Creek Project was created to alleviate flooding in the Wares Creek neighborhood. The dredging portion of the project was completed in August and removed 37,000 cubic yards of sediment.
Jessica De Leon, urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049.