KEY LARGO – About 4 a.m. Friday, after hours of work by nearly 30 people, Parsons Brinckerhoff Senior Project Engineer Pom Chakkaphak declared with a thumbs up: “We are done.”
Two large cranes had just lifted the second 120-foot-long, 108,000-pound concrete beam onto concrete slabs previously constructed at each end of Marvin D. Adams Waterway in Key Largo.
Putting the two monster-sized beams successfully into place was the biggest challenge of building Monroe County’s new pedestrian bridge, said Jim Hennigar, Project Manager with Douglas N. Higgins, the construction contractor. Parson Brinckerhoff is the Construction, Engineering and Inspection firm for the project.
“These are the Premiere League of beams,” said Hennigar, who hails from Ireland. He explained that they had to be that long because support structures could not be place into the popular waterway for boat traffic traveling between Florida Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
The $1.18 million, 11.5-foot wide pedestrian bridge at Mile Marker 103.3 on U.S. 1 is expected to be finished in December, said Debra London, the project’s manager for Monroe County.
The pedestrian bridge is the final piece of the U.S. 1 Bayside Shared Use Path, which stretches from approximately mile marker 99 to 106 and provides a safe, paved route for people to walk, run and bike.
The project is funded with a $475,000 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) grant, impact fees and infrastructure sales tax revenues.
To put the two beams into place took a small army. The Florida Keys Electric Cooperative depowered the overhead electrical line for the safety of all personnel. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office controlled vehicle traffic on U.S. 1 and marine traffic on Adams Cut. And crews from Parsons Brinckerhoff, Douglas N. Higgins and subcontractor American Empire Builders worked together to get the long and heavy beams moved from special trucks, up and over the bridge railing and into place over the waterway.
“Everything went really well – thanks to the team,” Chakkaphak said. “Now, we can go have breakfast.”