Elevated road construction for the South Bridge on Gasparilla Island begins Friday if the development of a potential Hurricane Isaac doesn't interfere. Completion of the north roadway ramp is expected to take up to a month.
Orion Marina Construction crews have begun preparing for a possible evacuation by picking up any loose equipment. Barges could be relocated if the hurricane threatens.
If the storm passes without significant incident, the new Swing Bridge becomes the focus of the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority project after the two fixed bridges are completed. Both are well on their way.
The custom-designed “hammerhead” cap, massive at 37 feet long, 6½ feet tall and 5 feet deep, shows how much more elevation the new Center Bridge will have compared with the old Center Bridge to the left (west) of it.
Islanders can gain an in-depth perspective of all the moving parts on the Swing Bridge at a workshop from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Boca Grande Community Center Auditorium.
The workshop is the week before the critical vote on a property tax increase to help pay the estimated $40 million tab for the three new bridges. Unscientific GIBA polling indicated voter sentiment running against but with the margin of error making either outcome possible.
The finish date for the new South Bridge remains March 2013 and the completion date for the new Center Bridge remains December 2013.
What: GIBA workshop
When: 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 30
Where: Boca Grande Community Center Auditorium
Why: Swing Bridge Who: Open to the public
What: GIBA Board meeting
When: 1:30 p.m. Nov. 2
Where: Boca Grande Community Center Woman's Club Room
Why: Bridge replacement project
Who: Open to the public
Bridge construction keys
Prime contractor: Orion Marine Construction of Tampa
Start: Construction began March 12 on Center and South fixer bridges
South Bridge completion: March 2013
Center Bridge completion: December 2013
GIBA ad valorem milestones
April 25: Decided specific terms of property tax to be placed on ballot
July 9: File ballot language with county
Oct. 1: Toll increases to $6 per vehicle
Oct. 19: Official public notice of referendum
Nov. 6: Election Day
Tampa-based Orion Marine reports the two fixed bridges on Boca Grande remain on schedule at Day 164 of the 630-day project and are 25 percent complete.
Orion will use flagmen for a concrete pour from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. each Friday through October to complete all footings, columns and caps.
This Friday features the second hammerhead-style cap pouring, said GIBA Executive Director Jim Cooper Wednesday.
The most visible phase of the Center Bridge construction features five structural support sections that will function much like the legs on a table once installed, Cooper said.
The large Center Bridge caps, designed "hammerhead" style to rest on columns, provide structural support for four large beams under the final new Center Bridge deck.
The new caps have been giving passing island motorists a better perspective of the new Center Bridge's height over the past week.
Each hammerhead cap is custom-designed and massive at 37 feet long, 6 feet tall and 5 feet deep. The unique forms support the pour for each cap.
South Bridge progress notes
95 percent of the old South Bridge concrete sections have been recycled.
Orion's barge crews continue driving the water-based production pilings with 36 to be installed.
Orion's road crews continue work on the new concrete bulkhead walls. The new permanent sheet piling is now installed at the south area bulkhead wall. The north side bulkhead wall final concrete pour was complete as of Aug. 22. South bulkhead wall cap work is ongoing.
Center Bridge progress notes
All 12 in-water production pilings are now set.
The second column will be poured Friday. Each column is 7 feet in diameter and about 12-feet tall.
All Center Bridge primary structural support areas - footings, columns and caps - should be complete by mid-October