Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: Bridge of Lions
Title: [Issues re: renovating the Bridge of Lions]
Full Citation
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 Material Information
Title: Issues re: renovating the Bridge of Lions
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Bridge of Lions
Physical Description: Report
Language: English
Physical Location:
Box: 8
Divider: Bridge of Lions
Folder: Bridge of Lions
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
Bridge of Lions (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine
Coordinates: 29.892796 x -81.310269
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00095512
Volume ID: VID00007
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text
Renovating the Bridge of Lions would serve the purpose of historic
preservationists who have adopted "Saving Our Bridge" as a campaign, and have
convinced influential politicians and Florida Department of Transportation officials that
the St. Augustine community strongly favors restoration of this 1927 Bridge of Lions.
Members of "Citizens for A Safe New Bridge" have contended that a safe new
bridge is necessary because dramatically increased traffic and larger automobiles have
made the current bridge unsafe. Those who favor a new bridge recognize and appreciate
the architectural beauty of the Bridge of Lions and its importance to the historic character
of St. Augustine. However, the realities of an increased population and tourist visitation
have crowded the Bridge of Lions to over twice its design capacity. It is substandard ,in
terms of current safety provisions, and the Citizens for A Safe New Bridge argue that a
new, architecturally similar two-lane bridge could be constructed and although
appearing nearly identical to the old bridge, it would include wider, standard traffic
lanes, 10 foot safety lanes, and a protected passageway for pedestrians, wheelchairs, and
cyclists. A new bridge would also be safer for marine traffic, having a US Coast Guard
standard 125 foot horizontal opening as opposed to the current 76-foot opening.
The main issue is: which system best serves the citizens of St. Augustine for the
next 50 years? Renovation and restoration costs are approximately equal at $46 million.
The decision will affect residents of and visitors to St Augustine at least 50 years, and it
is important that all of the facts and implications are fully understood before the work is

The Comprehensive Plan of the City of St. Augustine contemplates a two lane
bridge connecting downtown St. Augustine with Anastasia Island via SR A1A.
Knowing that the existing bridge has deteriorated badly, the Florida Department
of Transportation prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement in 1998, which
identified four options for correcting the problems of maintaining a viable traffic
connection between downtown St. Augustine and Anastasia Island. The report outlined
four alternatives described below:

I-A Continue to repair the existing bridge
I-B Perform an extensive rehabilitation of the old bridge
II-A-Construct a new bridge immediately to the south of the existing bridge
II-B-Construct a new bridge in the location of the old bridge

The Citizens for A Safe New Bridge contend that a thorough study of all the facts
clearly indicate that alternative II-B is the only reasonable solution. You can connect to
the official FDOT web site for more information at WWW

The Bridge of Lions was constructed in 1927. It was preceded by several
structures spanning the Matanzas River including a a and
The Bridge of Lions was designed by and its
western landing adorned by two impressive marble lions, carved in Italy and donated to
the City of St. Augustine by Dr. Andrew Anderson, a friend and business associate of
Henry Flagler.
When the bridge was constructed the county population was It
is now Area tourism volume was It now approaches 2
million. In 1927 the average car measured x and weighed
Today's family cars include station wagons, vans, and SUVs that can be
x and weigh lbs.
In 1927 average daily trips over the Bridge of Lions was Today it is
Busses and large trucks have been prohibited from crossing the Bridge of Lions
since 19 and major structural supports have been added in 19_, 19_, and 19 in
order to shore up seriously deteriorated pylons.
The problems with the Bridge of Lions became critical during the 1990 's and the
FDOT began development of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement, evaluating
options to correct the problems. The Report was issued in 1998.

On the St. Augustine City Commission voted 3-2 to support a plan to
construct a new, architecturally similar bridge, immediately to the south of the existing
bridge. On the Commission voted 3-2 in favor of the renovation option. Then
again on the St. Augustine City Commission voted 3-2 to support the new bridge
During this long period of time there have been numerous meetings and sharing
of information. Finally on the FDOT announced that it had decided upon Option
I-B, renovation of the existing Bridge of Lions, despite the standing position of the St.
Augustine City Commission favoring construction of a Safe New Bridge.
Members of the "Save Our Bridge" committee had conducted an effective
campaign to lobby officials to support the renovation option that they favored, and
members of "Citizens for A Safe New Bridge" failed to convince authorities that the
replacement option should be adopted.
Since that time members of "Citizens for A Safe New Bridge" have continued
their efforts to promote the construction of an architecturally similar two-lane bridge,
meeting current safety standards. According to recent reports from FDOT the current
plans are to construct a temporary bridge regardless of which option is followed, making
Option II-B (construction of a new bridge where the old one exists) realistic.
It is the opinion of the "Citizens for A Safe New Bridge" that the issue has not
been fully comprehended by all citizens, and that when all of the facts and consequences
are understood, a large majority of our citizens will support the construction of a new safe
bridge. Our intention is to pursue the issue, by publishing the facts, inviting public
debate, and encouraging our political leaders to engage themselves in this question
because of its enduring consequences. The decision, made now, will affect our
community for the next 50 year.

History and Architecture
Permitting and Regulatory Requirements
Dimensions and Safety Issues
Control of Architectural Design

* Projections of Future Usage

After a thorough study of all of the issues concerning the Bridge of Lions problem
and evaluating the relative importance of historic preservation, safety, and the character
of St. Augustine, members of the "Citizens for A Safe New Bridge" have concluded that
Option II-B of the FDOT Draft Environmental Impact Study is the only sensible solution
to curing the deficiencies that exist with the deteriorating bridge.
We believe that the heart of our position is a concern for safety, and the
community's need for an efficient, reliable, and architecturally pleasing link between
downtown St. Augustine and Anastasia Island. We appreciate the concerns of those
citizens who wish to protect the old Bridge of Lions for fear that the Department of
Transportation, if allowed to design a new bridge, would employ a modern design that
would detract from the historic character of our city. We do not believe this.
We believe that our governmental and civic leaders should join together in their
insistence that the new safe bridge be designed so as to replicate the existing design. The
renderings presented in the FDOT Study certainly indicate that such a structure is not
only possible, but is their intention.
We believe that it is a reasonable assumption that the challenge to the FDOT to
design and construct a safe span for St. Augustine's new Bridge of Lions would result in
their very finest work.
One day the new Bridge of Lions will be seventy-five years old, and our hope is
that during its life, it will serve its safe transportation mission while gracing the skyline of
the Nation's Oldest City.

Mr. Art Runk, Sr.
Runk Construction
1985 Mizell Rd
St. Augustine, FL 32080

Mr. Bill Young
833 Kalli Creek Ln
St. Augustine, FL 32084

Mr. David Ponce
Conch House Resort
57 Comares Ave
St. Augustine, FL 32080

Mr. Walt Bugeski
405 Arredondo Ave.
St. Augustine, FL 32080

Mr. Bill Rose
33 Valencia
St. Augustine, FL 32084

Mr. John Daniels
61 Avista Cir.
St. Augustine, FL 32080

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