The Flagler Memorial Bridge Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study analyzed the condition of the decades-old Flagler Memorial Bridge and the environmental impacts of rehabilitating this structure. This study marked one of the first occasions that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 4 used the State's Efficient Transportation Decision-Making Process (ETDM), a system developed to streamline planning, review measures, and integrate agency input into all aspects of project delivery.
The Flagler Memorial Bridge is a 70-year-old bridge, located in Palm Beach County, Florida, that crosses the Intracoastal Waterway. Given its age, the PD&E study considered the bridge's eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places. If granted this designation, an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) would be required for any proposed projects involving the bridge. FDOT initiated a Cultural Resource Committee (CRC), uniting representatives from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the United States Coast Guard (USCG), Florida's State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and local historic preservation organizations. The CRC worked through the Section 106 process relating to National Register listed or eligible historic properties and provided input on possible effects to the historic resources, as well as measures to minimize or mitigate these effects.
FDOT, FHWA, and the Florida SHPO signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to mark their solidarity and to acknowledge that measures should be taken to memorialize this long-standing bridge and its namesake, Mr. Henry Flagler, an innovator who established the Florida East Coast Railroad extending from Jacksonville to Key West. As part of this effort, the CRC created an educational video on Mr. Flagler's accomplishments for local schoolchildren and visitors.
The Section 106 process was successfully completed with the participation of the CRC, and the project, including the construction of the new bridge and changes to the roadway approaches was able to move forward. This process also provided the opportunity for nonmotorized transportation options to be integrated into the project design. The existing structure did not have sufficient sidewalks, bicycle lanes, or locations for recreational fishing to occur. The bridge replacement project incorporated these features into the final bridge design to ensure that nonmotorized transportation users will be able to more safely and reliably cross the bridge.
For more information, contact Ann Broadwell, Florida Department of Transportation - District 4, at Ann.Broadwell@dot.state.fl.us.