Bridging the Future - APWA Florida Public Works Expo 2018

This past April, England-Thims and Miller, Inc. (ETM) was given the opportunity to highlight the Newnan Street Bridge project at the 2018 APWA Florida Chapter Public Works Expo held in Jacksonville at the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center. Speaking at a general session titled, Bridging the Future, Buckley Williams, Executive Vice President of ETM, underscored how city, state and local stakeholders effectively bridged part of Jacksonville’s historical past with present day requirements and goals; turning a unique and challenging project into a reality.

The Newnan Street Bridge provides entrance to historic Springfield and one of Jacksonville’s oldest parks; deeded to the City by the Springfield Development Company and aptly named for one of our most famous architects,  Henry J. Klutho. Almost 30 years after the Great Fire of 1901 engulfed the city and scorched 1700 buildings within 146 city blocks, an initiative known as the Hogan’s Creek Beautification Project of 1929, allowed Klutho along with local engineer, C.H. Imeson, to transform the park that paralleled the length of Hogan’s Creek, into a Venetian-style promenade featuring Neoclassical Revival style architecture. The Newnan Street Bridge is one of the park’s six bridges and part of a network of channel locks, bulkheads, and lakes created to provide Jacksonville residents with access to the urban waterway.

After years of use and natural aging, the City was faced with replacing a deteriorating roadbed while preserving the damaged historic elements of the bridge.  In response, the Florida Department of Transportation initiated a $1.5 million project to reconstruct and replace the bridge. ETM served as the CEI and Construction Management team for the FDOT project that presented a litany of hurdles such as a limited right-of-way, complex utilities, and unique historical. State, City and local stakeholders came together to collectively approach each aspect of this project in a cohesive and coordinated effort.

The entire project was surveyed utilizing 3D Laser Scan technology to ensure the accuracy of all measurements and guarantee that bridge elements could be re-established at the completion of construction. In order to keep Klutho’s design intact, restoration specialists were utilized and careful consideration was given to the temporary removal, storage and transportation of historical elements. Because restoration work was being conducted off-site, extensive stakeholder coordination ensured the proper finish, texture and character of the bridge elements were properly restored.

Existing environmental considerations were managed to ensure construction did not aggravate the  migration of existing source materials. Additionally, proper decontamination of equipment and protocols were implemented for the disposal of material removed from the project site.

Important coordination also took place with the State Historical Preservation Office allowing the Newnan St. Bridge to remain individually eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places!

Now restored, the Newnan Street Bridge serves once again as an architectural entranceway to one of the city’s most historic locations.  Not only does it represent a lasting legacy of Henry J. Klutho but it is helping to shape a part of the City’s emerging “Emerald Necklace”…..a Groundworks project that encircles downtown, connecting its neighborhoods with jobs, entertainment, waterways and recreation; all while helping to bring vibrancy back to the community. 

We are proud of the collaborative effort of this project and its success. It was recently awarded FTBA’s “Best in Construction”  award for the Minor Bridge category, and it also received national recognition with a 6th place finish as one of the Top 10 Bridges in America.

We recognize all of the project stakeholders who attributed to the project’s success; bridging  relationships to overcome challenges no matter how big or small.

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