UPDATE: Oct. 11, 2022: Florida DOT has announced the names of the companies awarded contracts to make emergency fixes to the Sanibel Causeway, which was damaged late last month during Hurricane Ian.
They are Fort Meyers, Florida-based Ajax Paving and Superior Construction of Jacksonville, Florida, according to Florida DOT spokesperson Jessica Ottaviano, who said in an email that various crews are working in parallel at different locations along the causeway, both landside and marine side, to expedite repairs. The contract prices have not yet been disclosed.
From initial assessments, repairs will include restoring the roadway, repairing bridge approaches and performing bridge stability analysis, Ottaviano said.
“The majority of the work consists of restoring the roadway and land that led up to bridge structures as they were completely washed away and are the main parts of the connection to the island,” she said. “The actual bridge structures as part of this connection have been inspected and are cleared safe, so now it is a matter of linking everything else back together.”
- The Sanibel Causeway in southwest Florida, rendered impassible by Hurricane Ian, will be usable thanks to temporary repairs by the end of October, according to the state DOT. The storm wrecked five different portions of the 3-mile series of bridges, which link Sanibel Island to the mainland, when it made landfall on Sept. 28.
- Florida DOT awarded a contract on Tuesday to begin immediate repairs on the bridge, the city of Sanibel said in a press release on Oct. 5. Construction Dive reached out to the agency to ask what company is doing the repairs and how much they will cost, but did not get a response as of publication time.
- The emergency fixes anticipated to be completed this month are temporary, and will enable access to Sanibel Island for its roughly 6,500 residents and first responders, according to the release. The state will then start long-term repairs. Transportation corridors are now passable through almost all of the state, Florida DOT said in the release.
The emergency fixes underway right now on the Sanibel Causeway will tie into work that is needed for permanent repairs, according to the Florida DOT. The most severe storm damage includes a roughly 50-foot section of bridge span which collapsed, as well as major erosion on one of the causeway islands.
“The Sanibel Causeway was affected when the land that the road was built on was washed away,” said Florida DOT Secretary Jared Perdue in the release. “A bridge stability analysis will be performed, and repairs needed range from repairing bridge approaches to restoring the roadway across most of the causeway.”
Similar damage was sustained on Pine Island Road on the nearby island of Matlacha, where Ian washed the road away. For now, a temporary bridge has been constructed and opened for public use Wednesday afternoon, said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a press conference.
Florida DOT said it has completed inspections on all state-owned bridges, and the agency is now assisting with locally owned bridge inspections.