A new $44.2 million high-rise bridge on Heckscher Drive over Sisters Creek on the St. Johns River opens to traffic Monday, ending a little more than two years of construction.
The new bridge features two 12-foot travel lanes, 10-foot shoulders and six-foot sidewalks on both sides of the bridge.
The new bridge replaces a 1950s era drawbridge and eliminates a history of highway and marine traffic conflicts on the St. Johns River.
“The big selling points for this project are the elimination of auto-marine conflicts and the enhanced hurricane evacuation now available for the residents of this coastal community,” said FDOT District Secretary Greg Evans. “The days of waiting for the drawbridge are over for both automobiles and marine traffic.”
The project was built by Archer Western and designed by RS&H Engineering. HNTB served as the state’s representative, providing construction, engineering and inspection services.
“This project has required an incredible amount of planning and coordination with Archer Western and RS&H as construction had to be completed around pre-arranged work stoppages for fishing tournaments and other community events,” said HNTB’s Tom Woods.
In addition to the usual construction challenges, the project team built the new bridge adjacent to the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and the Nassau River St. Johns Aquatic Preserve.
“Modern bridge building requires a high level of expertise to build a structure like this without disturbing the environmental integrity of the land,” said Evans.
The project included environmental and archaeological monitoring of the bridge site and adjacent properties.