May target date for Crosstown Parkway Bridge groundbreaking

Big crowd gets update Monday
Posted at 7:42 PM, Mar 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-06 19:42:28-05

For years, it was just talk. But now, there's action on a major east-west corridor in Port St. Lucie. 

Every day, John Hawkins and his dog Blue come to watch the changes along the old West Virginia Drive.

“The woods are gone and it's opened up. It’s going to be a beautiful project when it’s done," said Hawkins.

The project he's talking about is the 87-million dollar Crosstown Parkway Bridge, a long awaited and discussed third crossing over the North Fork of the St. Lucie River.

“It’s going to alleviate a lot of traffic. Prima Vista and Port St. Lucie this time of year is a bear, especially this time of year when you have a lot of the snowbirds," said Hawkins.

Crews are preparing for the next phase of construction.

“This bridge will be built via a trestle or a temporary structure that’s built adjacent as to where the permanent one is going.  We’ll build this 35-foot wide steel structure and deliver all equipment and materials and build permanent bridge from it," said Project Administrator George Denti.

Denti says they won’t need to have heavy equipment on the ground in environmentally sensitive areas.

With such a major project underway, the city has taken on other projects to mitigate or lessen its impact. One is a new kayak launch along Evans Creek that allows anyone to launch a canoe or kayak without getting wet.

Environmentalists had sued over the route chosen connecting US 1 at Village Green Drive, but the courts ruled in the city’s favor.

Mayor Greg Oravec says all that’s left is getting approval permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard.

“In Port St. Lucie, the people wanted the bridge so badly that 89% of the people said tax us more because we want this bridge," said Oravec.

Those permits should be granted in the coming weeks. A groundbreaking has been scheduled for May 9, with completion sometime in the fall of 2019.