Flagler Memorial Bridge outlived itself but problem persisted for decades

History of problems surfaced years ago

Updating the bridge that connects the mainland to the rich and posh  has not been cheap and problem-free.

By 2006, the 76 year old passage way named after railroad founder, Henry Flagler, was already well-past its hey-day when it was deemed structurally deficient by the state.

7 years later, it's overall bridge health remained far below state average.

"It's an old bridge.  It's about 76 years old and a normal bridge life span is about 50 years," explained Tish Burgher, public information officer for the Flagler Memorial Bridge Project.

Old is one way to describe a bridge that, for years, carried across drivers despite it failing more current bridge standards.

"The current standards that it does not meet are primarily to do with the navigation underneath, the width of the channel and the height of the bridge," said Burgher.

So in 2012, plans to build a new bridge got underway-

But by November the same year,  problems began to surface on the original.

"It sunk, for lack of a better term," said Burgher.

The foundation on the old bridge was shaken, the likely culprit, construction to the new adjacent bridge.

One year and $9 million dollars in repairs later, the old bridge was forced to close again.

Again, a sinking problem.

"This was not anticipated and totally unforeseen," explained Burgher.

Since history has shown the potential for impact, the original bridge will remain closed for the next 6 months while construction crews install foundations to its new replacement.

To date, the state has spent a total of $54 million in repairs and new construction.  An additional $56 million and change will be sunk into the bridges before the new one is ready for its debut

"The ultimate goal is to have a new bridge that will last 50- 75 years and meet all current standard and be a beautiful bridge across the intracoastal waterway.”

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