Having broken ground almost 17 months ago, the Grand Lagoon Bridge is getting closer to completion every day. The old bridge was a low restrictive thing offering a measly 10 foot clearance. The new bridge will almost double that with a towering 18 feet of clearance.
Here are 5 fantastic facts on the new bridge which should be complete just before summertime.
- The estimated cost of the entire project (bridge and Thomas Drive widening) is around $18.5 million. Currently, Bay County has $19,462,409 to fund this project with $5,629,822 from local stimulus funds, $9,299,990 from state stimulus funds and $4,532,597 from grants that Bay County has been working on for years. Based on the cost estimate, Bay County has all the money necessary to fund the entire project.
- The new bridge will be 4 lanes total, two lanes of traffic traveling each direction and will stretch 250 feet across Grand Lagoon over three span structures. Each span will be 83 feet 4 inches long. In addition, on the outside of the lanes traveling in each direction will be a bicycle lane and pedestrian walkway. The automobile lanes will be 12 feet in width, the bicycle lanes will be 5 foot 6 inches, and the pedestrian walkways will be 6 feet. The total width of the new bridge will be 73 feet 6 inches, including 2 feet and 6 inches of outside barrier. The existing bridge is only 10 feet above the water, severely limiting the boat size that has access to the residential section of Grand Lagoon. However, the new bridge will rest 18 feet above the water.
- Right now, Bay County is considering walkways to accommodate fishing and other recreational activities under the bridge both on the north and south side of the lagoon.
- The existing roadway that feeds the north and south side of the Grand Lagoon Bridge is only 2 lanes with a center turn lane, but the new wider roadway will be 5 lanes total. With four 11 foot lanes and a 12 foot center turn lane, the new widened section of Thomas Drive will also include bicycle and pedestrian walkways, to continue the ease of passage for business foot commuters and bicyclers alike from the bridge.
- The existing bridge structure was built originally in 1952 and sustained damage in 1995 during hurricane Opal. It has been cited to have irreparable damage and is badly in need of replacement. Right now, the bridge is a 6 span structure that is 150 feet wide.
Here are the latest pictures. A special thanks to Chris Charles with Beachy Beach Real Estate for the pictures.