With bridges throughout the country reminding us they are in desperate need of attention, drivers crossing between Tampa and St. Petersburg on the existing Howard Frankland Bridge have front row seats to the adjacent construction of its replacement. Slated for completion by the end of 2025, the new bridge is designed to support the transit options of the future.
Laying the Foundation
Much has been learned about corrosion, concrete and saltwater since the original Howard Frankland Bridge was built in the 1960s. With current insights being applied to the new construction, the Florida Department of Transportation projects that the new bridge will have a lifespan of 100 years. Currently, builders are laying the foundations, as St Pete Catalyst reports: “Drivers commuting by the existing bridge can see the progress as 170 contractors work day and night on barges, pouring concrete and operating cranes… The new bridge will have eight lanes: four will be general use lanes, allowing drivers to travel from Tampa to St. Petersburg, and four will be express lanes…The new bridge will also support innovative transit modes, from rail to bus rapid transit.”
As the bridge is being built, South Florida is working to integrate infrastructure plans for new transit options throughout the region. For example, a high-speed passenger train line is on the drawing boards to connect Orlando and Tampa, and bus rapid transit (BRT) is envisioned as a solution for improved connections to Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties. Since light rail is a possibility too, the Howard Frankland Bridge is being built, as a spokesperson explains , to “accommodate the loading from a light rail system, so if we do have a plan of connecting Hillsborough and Pinellas counties by the bridge we will be able to carry light rail without any structural retrofits…”
According to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) the new Howard Franklin Bridge will also include a bicycle/pedestrian trail—honoring this important request from residents. In a further nod to the future, the FDOT points out that with its additional express lanes in each direction, the new bridge could even accommodate a dedicated lane for autonomous vehicles.
With the future speeding toward us, public projects are picking up steam too and builders are leveraging The Partnership Account for Contractors® from Colonial Surety. Here’s why: as a direct underwriter of bonds based on the strength of financial statements, we give builders power of attorney to issue their own bid bonds. Plus, we provide a rich array of complimentary services, including: direct access to performance and payment bonds on a customized dashboard; real time tracking of bids and work on hand—and immediate access to Colonial’s lead underwriter as new opportunities emerge.
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Let’s Do This
The University of Kansas has been chosen by the Federal Highway Administration for research on some of the root problems impacting aging bridges across the country. It is anticipated that the $500,000 research grant will lead to new insights for use on bridge upkeep and repair as infrastructure improvement projects get underway. That’s good news because according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association 220,000 bridges across the country require improvement. Fortunately, only 79,500 need to be replaced!
In total, $26.5 billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is earmarked for fixing bridges across the country. Get up to speed on the 375 programs included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), with The White House’s “one-stop-shop” Guidebook. Across the country, contractors are gearing up for public contracts by leveraging The Partnership Account® from Colonial Surety. In addition to a surety line of credit—in writing, The Partnership Account® gives qualified construction companies:
- Control of bidding and bonding, online and in real time.
- Powers of attorney to seal and issue their own bid bonds—in minutes.
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- Direct access to performance and payment bonds on a customized dashboard.
- Real time tracking of bids and work on hand.
- Immediate access to Colonial’s lead underwriter as new opportunities emerge.
- A private Owner’s Dashboard to view surety lines, adjust work and analyze bids.
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Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a leading direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products across the USA. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company and U.S. Treasury listed.