Historic City News reporters joined a celebratory crowd who gathered for the return to service of St. Augustine’s historic Bridge of Lions today — nearly four years after extensive, lifesaving rehabilitation was begun.
At 9:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 16th, the temporary bridge closed permanently for all vehicular traffic.
To commemorate this important occasion, the City of St. Augustine in cooperation with the Florida Department of Transportation, Skanska, and Save Our Bridge held a ceremony on the west approach to the bridge; including brief remarks by officials and a ribbon cutting.
Drawn last fall from more than 750 entries, a group of 27 selected pedestrians known as the ’27 Club, became the official first pedestrians to cross the restored Bridge of Lions.
Members of the Ancient City Auto Club followed the ’27 Club across the span driving antique vehicles representing the decades of the bridge’s service since it first opened in 1927.
The general public was allowed to walk over the newly restored Bridge of Lions before it was reopened for traffic at noon, today.
As you walk across the new-old bridge, there are many comfort and safety features that can be immediately noticed. One example is the widened, pedestrian paths on both the north and south sides of the span. The gate-arms are well protected and an auxiliary pair of decorative and functional gates creates a second barrier before reaching the draw. The turn-of-the-century style lighting produces good visibility for late evening walks; to or from the island.
Photo credit: © 2010 Historic City News photographer Kerry McGuire