Innovative design, historic preservation, and a shared commitment for community enhancement resulted in the roaring restoration of a national landmark – the iconic Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine, Florida, the “Nation’s Oldest City.” The bridge, which opened in 1927, is prominent in nearly every skyline image of the city. In response to the bridge’s deterioration, the Florida Department of Transportation decided to rehabilitate the bridge rather than replace it as the best balance between the region’s transportation needs, public safety, and historic preservation.
The objective of the rehabilitation process was to preserve as much of the original bridge as possible. To accomplish this goal, RS&H designed an innovative interior steel framework and new foundation system hidden within the existing structure to strengthen it, improve safety, and bring the bridge to today’s current design standards. In addition, the team designed a 1,600-foot temporary bridge to maintain traffic throughout all five-and-a-half years of construction.
In 2010, the Bridge of Lions reopened to a parade of city officials, residents, and visitors. The project has preserved this national historic landmark for future generations and is a model for rehabilitating other aging infrastructure.
This project has also received the following award recognitions: 2011 National Recognition Award from the ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards, Award of Merit in the Reconstructed Category from the National Steel Bridge Alliance Prize Bridge Competition, and ranked Fourth in Roads & Bridges Top 10 Bridges of 2010.