Bowman’s Park Wooden Bridge Is Getting An Upgrade

by SC Reporter Reanna Haase

SC photo by Assoc. Publisher Chuck Larsen

A major rehabilitation project on the Bowman’s Beach Park Bridge has been planned to keep the bridge safe for beach visitors.

Scott Krawczuk from the Sanibel Public Works Department said the goal with this project is to replace the existing sub-structure with more durable materials to increase the lifespan of the bridge.

“The existing concrete pilings will remain (since) they are in good condition. All the sub-structure is now wood, so that is going to be replaced with aluminum material. The decking is going to be (replaced with) recycled plastic lumber, composite lumber,” Krawczuk said.

The bridge was built in 1982 and carries beachgoers over Clam Bayou. These rehabilitation projects are necessary to keep it in good condition. Krawczuk said the most recent major deck replacement was done in 2009, with minor repairs done every other year based on inspection. With this project there is hope less rehab projects will be needed in the future.

The wooden sub-structure of the bridge at Bowman’s Beach Park is being replaced with composite for less maintenance and a longer life. The rehabilitation project begins Thursday, July 7 and expected to take 180 days, weather permitting. The bridge will remain open for the duration of the project. SC video by Associate Publisher Chuck Larsen

The project was approved by the city council in April, and is funded by grants from the Tourism Development Council and from the city beach parking fund. The project will cost a total of $720,000 to complete.

“The materials are definitely more durable and there should be less repairs needed going forward and it should increase the lifetime,” Krawczuk said.

Construction will begin on July 5 and is projected to last 180 days. The bridge will remain open to the public during this time. However, a portion of the southern parking lot at Bowman’s Beach Park will be closed for storage of construction materials.

Blind Pass Beach Park will also remain closed to the public as conditions are relatively unchanged through our recent storms. Holly Milbrandt, Director of Natural Resources said they are keeping the beach closed based on safety concerns.

“(There) is a very steep drop off. If you were to walk out on the main beach access, it is right there. So, it is really unsafe to access the beach at that location,” Milbrandt said.

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