The district school board of Collier County, Fla., is taking the philosophy of "bridging the gap" between Golden Gate High School and the Golden Gate community literally. So literally that the school board hired PBS&J Constructors Inc. to build a bridge over the Golden Gate Canal in this southeast Florida community, allowing a shorter and safer alternative to the current route students must use to get to school.
PBS&J Constructors Inc., a subsidiary of the PBSJ Corp. was awarded the contract to build a 135-ft-long bridge across the canal coupled with a 700-ft roadway to connect the bridge with Tropicana Blvd. to the north and the bridge to the high school campus to the south. The six-month project got underway in February 2007 with a price tag of $3.2 million.
Contracting to have a bridge and road built seems beyond the scope of a typical school board's realm. However, the Tropicana Bridge is an integral part of the school board's mission: to address all students' needs. Students living in the Golden Gate community were forced to travel a circuitous and busy road each morning to get to school that is literally in their backyard. Building the new bridge provides an improved quality of life and safety of our students. They now have the option of walking to school or driving without having to take Collier Boulevard--a heavily traveled road.
As is the case for most school districts in Florida, spending money requires a careful decision-making process to ensure a maximum return of investment. For Collier County, getting the most for their money meant hiring PBS&J Constructors.
"We're not just an engineering company. We provide a wide range of services for our clients that ultimately make us a more efficient and cost-effective solution for construction needs," said Kevin Callahan, vice president of PBS&J Constructors. "The Tropicana Bridge project represents the PBSJ Corp.'s depth of services by taking a project from the idea phase all the way through a finished project."
The bridge was designed by bridge architects at PBS&J Constructors' sister company, PBS&J, which also managed the review and permitting processes. In maintaining its commitment to developing relationships with its clients and communities in which it works, PBS&J Constructors hired local subcontractors to assist in the construction phase.
Work on the new Tropicana Bridge is scheduled for completion in August--just in time for the new school year. Once finished, the bridge will feature a 16-in-thick continuous concrete superstructure with five 27-ft spans. Nearly 78 ft wide, the bridge will include a pedestrian-accessible sidewalk and handrails.