Bridge of Lions rehabilitation nears end

Laurie Sanderson in the public information office for the Bridge of Lions Rehabilitation project reported to Historic City News in a letter yesterday that Contract work on the Bridge of Lions Rehabilitation Project will be completed in just a few days.

While Skanska has been finishing construction in the parks east and west of the Bridge of Lions, FDOT made a decision to upgrade the generator on the Bridge of Lions to a larger and more powerful unit capable of operating the bridge’s center draw span during power outages and during occasional power fluctuations without requiring the bridge tender to manually shed non-essential loads.

Following the Bridge of Lions’ complete rehabilitation and re-opening to the public on March 17, 2010, the draw span experienced several malfunctions. Engineers from FDOT, project engineer of record Reynolds, Smith & Hills, movable span subconsultant TranSystems, Skanska, construction inspection staff from URS and other consultants teamed up to investigate and review all possible causes of and solutions to the malfunctions.

“Operation of the bridge improved after enhancements were added and adjustments were made to the operating parameters of the newly installed equipment,” Sanderson said.

However, power outages and power fluctuations caused additional malfunctions, so engineers determined that a more powerful generator would facilitate operation of the bridge.

When utility power is interrupted and power demands are shifted to the emergency generator, the generator installed in the Bridge of Lions prior to its March 2010 opening required shedding some load demands, operating each leaf separately, and modifying the opening sequence, thus requiring more time to operate the bridge.

Upgrading to a more powerful generator that operates above and beyond engineers’ original design can minimize some of the effects of power interruption on the Bridge of Lions’ operating schedule.

In addition to installing the more powerful generator on the bridge, Skanska’s assistance to FDOT on supplemental work activities has included installing conduits to accommodate the City of St. Augustine’s consideration to add accent lighting on the Bridge of Lions.

Skanska has also provided assistance installing a gate valve to reduce flooding at the east end of the Bridge of Lions and is finishing modifications to the bascule tower roofs to more closely accommodate specifications made by the State Historic Preservation Office.

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