Big John Monahan Bridge: New bridge to help if storm evacuations needed

Part of SR 710 improvement

INDIANTOWN, Fla - Construction crews work inside a space in the Indiantown Center shopping plaza.  Soon it will be home to a new bakery.  Center owner John Leonard is investing in the town's future.

"Indiantown in general is on a renaissance.  There's a lot of stuff going on here that's under the radar," says Leonard.

But one thing that's hard to miss is the new John Monahan Bridge that takes traffic in and out of town on State Road 710.

"It's a well traveled road.  People don't realize it's the way out of here," said Leonard.

The new 32-million dollar twin span replaced a single structure that had no shoulders or sidewalks.  It's part of the state's effort to improve 710 from Palm Beach north to Okeechobee County.

"This is our entry feature and any community likes getting a new entry feature and we're just thrilled to have this," says Indiantown Gas Company President Brian Powers.  Powers grew up in Indiantown and says the new bridge is sorely needed.

For people who live in Indiantown, evacuating during a storm isn't mandatory since the town is inland and sits 30-40 feet above sea level.   But the bridge will help people from Palm Beach County and points south with a new way to safely evacuate north and west if a storm approaches.

But when there are no evacuations, the bridge can serve as a new welcome mat for a rebuilding community.

"It completes for us a 20 year plan.  We've been working on the other side of town quite a bit and it's nice to work on this end and it feels complete," said Powers.

The bridge will also help when it comes to commerce.  The southern end of State Road 710 is the Port of Palm Beach and a lot of products are delivered there from Martin and Okeechobee counties.

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