Marco Island News, Factory Bay Bridge /March 14, 2001


With about 40 residents present, the Public Works Departments as well as Jenkins & Charland Inc/ RWA called a public workshop.  The notice below was the official City of Marco Notice.  From the notice below it would appear that the public would have input prior to the building of the bridge.  This was not the case...

Factory Bay Bridge on N. Barfield Drive 

Factory Bay Bridge #034121 Replacement

                             North Barfield Drive
               Replacement of Factory Bay Bridge #34121
                             Public Works Project

The Public Works Department, Jenkins and Charland, Inc., and RWA, Inc. as the City's consultants, will conduct a Public Information Workshop to present the purpose and scope of the replacement of the Factory Bay Bridge located on North Barfield Drive.  All public members are invited to attend, and adjacent property and business owners are highly encouraged to attend and participate.  This workshop is being conducted for the primary purpose of gaining public input (questions, concerns, suggestions) on this Public Works project.
Workshop Information:

Tuesday, March 13, 2001, at 6:00 p.m.
City of Marco Island Mackle Park Facility (Room "A")

Please direct all inquires in this regard to Vladimir A. Ryziw, P.E., PMP, Public Works Director, 389-5002.

As we walked in there were plans hanging on the easels for display.  Many present were excited about getting to add their "input" as to what they felt about the new bridge that is near the Sheriff's Sub-station.  

Islander's that were present before the start of the meeting were mostly talking about adding a greater clearance to the bridge for ease of getting larger boats under the bridge.  All were excited about the prospect of a newer bigger bridge that would last a stated 50 years or more.

As the presentation progressed, it was clear that all decisions were made prior to the "workshop".  It was stated that bids have been accepted prior to the start of the meeting.

Chris Halaschak asked why have a workshop when everything is decided prior to the start of the workshop.  Halaschak further stated that it did not make sense to build a bridge that is going to last over 50 years and not even increase the height of clearance.  (It was mentioned by Paul Carrol, Structural Engineer for the project that the height would not be increased.)  Many of those present agreed that the bridge should be at least a foot taller.

Mr. Carrol stated that with the removal of the water pipe that is under the bridge, there will be an increase of clearance.  Many of the boaters present stated that the clearance would not change more that an inch with the removal of the pipes. (left, view of the underside of the bridge showing the pipe if you look hard at the top)

The actual construction of the bridge would start in May and have a estimated completion date of 7 months later.  The pipes (water gas and such) would be incorporated into the actual bridge via a raceway in the bridge that would allow access for repairs and more importantly, be hidden from view increasing the beauty of the bridge.  

Many present questioned the downtime for boating ingress and egress.  It was stated that there would be times that boaters may not be able to go in or out, but that it would not be for more than a week or two.  Removal of the old bridge would include making it into a artificial reef about 9 miles into the Gulf of Mexico.

City Counsel present included  Heywood Boyce and Kjell Pettersen.  Boyce asked questions pertaining to traffic flow.

The feeling at this workshop was one of why am I here if this all has been decided.  This was evidenced when Boyce said excitedly, This is what we can do (rebuilding the bridge) as a City" apparently anticipating applause to which all present sat cross armed.

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