Partial bridge opening welcomed

A major relief for Historic City News readers traveling southbound on Ponce de Leon Boulevard today, following the opening of the first two lanes of traffic across the replacement San Sebastian River Bridge by the Florida Department of Transportation.

Construction continues as the project approaches its completion, but the relief, at least for those drivers headed south, has been substantial.

“This is much safer,” one Mariotti’s customer told Historic City News reporters this afternoon; after making her first trip across the replacement bridge. “You can’t turn left onto Malaga Street anymore, but that turn was never safe after they closed the old bridge.”

We asked one of the construction crew if Malaga Street would resume, after all four traffic lanes are reopened, and he said that he believed so. The barricades that prevent left hand turns are only temporary, we were told.

Northbound US-1 traffic will continue using the existing bridge for approximately another month while construction is underway between the new elevated bridge and the old bridge built in 1960.

Northbound traffic is scheduled to shift onto the new bridge in late September or early October reporters were told.

In addition to brand new foundations and concrete, the new bridge boasts decorative streetlights reminiscent of St Augustine’s gas-powered lights along the bayfront, a two-tone paint scheme on the exterior wall, ornamental railing and a safety barrier wall between the roadway and the sidewalk.

The sidewalk along the new bridge and the turn lane from southbound US-1 to eastbound King Street will remain closed until the project is completed in Spring 2013.

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