Frequently Asked Questions about the Westwinds and Crosswinds Bridges Project

Why do the existing bridges need to be replaced?

Many factors require the replacement of these bridges. Westwinds Bridge and Crosswinds Bridge were constructed in 1956 and 1958, respectively – a time when the technology and available materials meant an expected life cycle of 50 years. These bridges have provided a service life of approximately 60 years and are experiencing an accelerated rate of corrosion. The bridges’ load ratings do not meet current design standards. Substructure piles are 12-inch square piles, and current Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) practice specifies 24-inch square piles as a minimum size for marine environments. Some bridge pile embedments are not known.
Even though the scour rating is low, any decrease in the current embedment caused by scour raises concerns of instability and a greater lack of load capacity. Additionally, the bridge railings are obsolete and have undergone numerous repairs. Replacing the existing railing with a barrier that meets current design standards would place an increased load on the bridge. This would reduce the already low load rating factor.

When will construction begin?

American Empire Builders, Inc., is performing the construction. The contractor’s Notice to Proceed took effect on July 6, 2020, and construction is underway.

What are the benefits to the construction of the new bridges?

The new bridges will provide an anticipated service life of 75 years and meet current FDOT standards for structures in corrosive environments. The new bridges will be 15½ feet wider than the existing bridges, providing 11-foot travel lanes, along with four-foot shoulders and six-foot sidewalks on both sides of the bridges.

The Westwinds Canal horizontal width will increase by more than six feet. The Westwinds Bridge vertical clearance from the bottom member to the Mean High Water Line (MHWL) will increase by approximately four inches. However, the center piling of the existing bridge will be removed, thereby increasing the vertical clearance and navigability to a greater degree in the center of the Westwinds Canal.
The Crosswinds Canal horizontal width will be increased by approximately five-and-a-half feet and the bridge’s vertical clearance from the bottom member to MHWL will increase by approximately 13½ inches.