Drive-through art gallery

Sept. 19, 2002

The cool new way to get to the beaches of Daytona is across the Broadway Bridge. In fact, the route has been requested by the children of several local dignitaries who spoke at the dedication of the new bridge. The children want to see the mosaics of wildlife that adorn the pedestrian walkway along the 3,008-ft length of the dual segmental concrete structure.

The cool new way to get to the beaches of Daytona is across the Broadway Bridge. In fact, the route has been requested by the children of several local dignitaries who spoke at the dedication of the new bridge. The children want to see the mosaics of wildlife that adorn the pedestrian walkway along the 3,008-ft length of the dual segmental concrete structure.

When the Florida DOT put the new bridge up for bids, the agency expected to get a fast, efficient way of getting along State Route 92 from the city of Daytona Beach over the Halifax River, also known as the Intracoastal Waterway, to the famous beaches. It did not expect to get a linear art gallery featuring wildlife native to the area.

The Figg Engineering Group, which won the job over four other international firms, is definitely not an average bridge design and engineering firm. Instead of having a mundane public relations manager or communications director, the company has a Director of Lasting Impressions.

And instead of engineering run-of-the-mill bridges, no matter how structurally excellent, Figg creates works of art that are integrated into the surrounding environment and community. The job title encapsulates Figg's mission.

The new Broadway Bridge replaces a 50-year-old bascule bridge. "The bridge was functionally obsolete," Charlie Silcox, Figg's project manager, told Roads & Bridges. "It had 11-ft lanes and no shoulders. It was an expensive maintenance item for the department."

Figg, based in Tallahassee, Fla., proceeded with a design charette process, in which members of the community voted on the design of the bridge. Construction started in January 1999. The result is an award winner.

The Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania, in association with Bayer Corp., awarded the Broadway Bridge the Gustav Lindenthal Medal, presented at the International Bridge Conference in Pittsburgh on June 10. The Lindenthal Medal is given for a single, recent, outstanding achievement in bridge engineering. The winning project must exhibit an improvement in bridge technology through technical or material innovation, achievement of high aesthetic merit, harmony with the environment or successful community participation in planning and design.

"We started with a blank canvas without any preconceived ideas and we looked at a multitude of different types of bridge shapes and span lengths and arrangements and ideas that would fit within the customer's budget," Linda Figg, president and CEO of Figg Engineering Group, told Roads & Bridges. "We brought these to the first community design charette to get input from the community on their preferences on things they thought would best suit the visual image they wanted to project for their bridge."

The design charettes were led by Linda Figg, the daughter of Gene Figg, the founder of the company, who passed away recently.

FDOT invited area residents, business owners and people from city and county agencies, business groups and the media. About 40 of them attended, and the first order of business was to pick an overall theme for the bridge. By a consensus vote of 8 out of 10, they selected "Timeless Ecology." The priority was to integrate the bridge into the local ecosystem as innocuously as possible.

Each person in the charette voted on each item on a scale of 1 to 10. The stronger they felt about the item, the higher they scored it.

During the first charette, the group also chose long spans (8.1) over moderate spans (6.0) and submerged footings (7.8) over waterline footings (6.0). In the second charette, the participants got a look at the bridge design they had assembled and voted on aesthetic elements, such as color, deck lighting, accent lighting and artistic elements. Figg delivered a design that incorporated all the aesthetic elements chosen and fit them all within FDOT's budget.

Music of the tiles

Broadway bridge serves as a learning experience as well as a roadway. One of the aesthetic features voted for by the design charette was a group of glass-tile mosaics that depict animals that inhabit the area around Daytona Beach. Eighteen wildlife mosaics are arranged along the bridge's separated sidewalk, about 262 ft apart, one for each of the span segments. The mosaics are repeated along the walkway on the other side of the bridge deck, making a total of 36.

The mosaics near the bridge landings feature sea creatures, such as sailfish, sharks and turtles. Land animals, such as the Florida panther, are depicted farther up the bridge. The mosaic at the highest point of the bridge features a pair of bald eagles, with pictures of other birds nearby, such as ospreys and egrets. On the opposite side of the mosaics, facing the water, are 7-ft-tall concrete medallions in a shell design cast in relief.

For boaters passing by on the water, the wildlife theme is incorporated into the bridge's piers. Dolphins, manatees and other water life frolic in 10-ft-tall mosaics that encircle the bridge piers above the water line. The image is the same on each pier but shifted in such a way that the animals appear to be swimming around the pier base—another example of the attention to detail that went into the Broadway Bridge design.

As part of the dedication ceremony, on July 20, 2001, children were invited to participate in "Stars on Broadway" and learn a little about the indigenous wildlife. Each of the 36 mosaics along the bridge walkway is "signed" by the installer with a star-shaped tile. The children were challenged to find all 36 star tiles and name the species pictured in the mosaics.

No more ups and downs

The reason FDOT wanted a new bridge was to replace the old one and to help revitalize downtown Daytona Beach.

The original bascule span bridge had to be raised to let boat traffic through, and the process caused problems and congestion for both water and land vehicle traffic.

The new bridge has a vertical clearance of 65 ft to allow unimpeded boat traffic under and land vehicle traffic on the bridge. It is a twin structure with less than a foot of space in between. The total length of the precast segmental structure is 3,008 ft.

The primary contractor chosen to construct the bridge to Figg's plans was Misener Marine Contractors Inc., Tampa, Fla.

The bridge was erected using the balanced cantilever method. Barge-mounted cranes and shoring towers around the piers took the out-of-balance moments.

The structure consists of 352 segments that are 48 ft wide and vary in depth from 13 ft to 7 ft 9 in. The heaviest segment weighed 120 tons. The deck has a total area of 260,152 sq ft. The bridge contains 1,704,786 lb of post-tensioning tendons and more than 4 million lb of reinforcing steel.

High-performance concrete including fly ash and calcium nitrate was used to increase the durability of the bridge. A 1?2-in. sacrificial layer of concrete was provided as a wearing surface and milled to profilograph tolerances for a smooth ride. Also contributing to ride smoothness is the fact that the bridge has only two expansion joints.

The bridge segments were cast in Flagler, Fla., about 20 miles north of the bridge location and floated by barge to the construction site.

The elliptically shaped piers were cast in place. The upper portion of each pier contains voids to reduce the pier's overall weight. The lower part is solid to minimize potential damage in an impact from a boat.

The piers should be tough enough to survive a collision.

"The bridge was designed to withstand a vessel impact," said Silcox. "That was part of the original design criteria. We studied the local vessel traffic in that area and determined their average speed. We transformed that to a static force that would be applied to the piers, and we designed for that force. The actual design vessel was a barge."

Pier heights very from 12 ft 8 in. to 77 ft.

A single foundation is used for each pair of piers in the dual-pier configuration. Cofferdams were employed to pour the mud-line footings. Five-ft shafts were drilled into the river bed. A reinforcing cage was then lowered into the shaft, and the concrete was poured.

Conveying vitality

For a budget of $37 million in public funds, Daytona Beach got a link in the redevelopment of the city, especially on the beach side of the bridge.

"The bridge has become a major feature in attracting and convincing players to be involved in the redevelopment efforts," said Suzanne Kuehn, economic development administrator for Daytona Beach.

Locating the new bridge slightly south of the old bridge opened up 10 acres of land for the city to redevelop into a new riverfront park on the west end of the bridge. The western landing of the bridge also is near the Beach Street area, which is a National Register Historic District, and City Island, a thriving complex with a rowing club, a ball park and a library.

The participants in the bridge construction hope the wildlife in the area also thrives. The contractor designated a full-time manatee lookout, whose job was to watch for approaching manatees during their migration season. If the lookout spotted a manatee, the requirement was to stop work until the manatee left the area.

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