Cargo trucks will be able to move within Port Everglades faster and more conveniently with the opening of a new bridge that connects areas that were previously separated by a canal and two security checkpoints.
“This bridge is a symbol of how the age of enhanced security has changed our lives and how we have learned to overcome adversity to actually create a better, stronger product,” Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter told the approximately 100 people who attended today’s bridge opening.
Funded in part through approximately $5.1 million in Florida Department of Transportation grants, the $11.5 million bridge, dubbed “Manatee Crossing,” allows truckers to travel from Midport to Southport within Port Everglades without having to exit and reenter restricted areas of the port, which previously required two security stops. With the addition of the new bridge, truckers can make multiple movements within the port jurisdictional area after going through the initial entrance security checkpoint.
“We built the new bridge to expedite truck traffic within the port, which will decrease travel time for drivers since they will only need to stop at one security checkpoint instead of two. The best part is that construction jobs were created at a time when these types of jobs were severely needed,” said Port Everglades Director Phil Allen. “The bridge’s name, ‘Manatee Crossing,’ honors our commitment to our winter guests, the manatees that travel here during the colder months to take advantage of the warm water in the Discharge Canal running under the bridge from the FPL electric plant.”
Manatee Crossing was constructed in one year and created approximately 200 new construction jobs.
In addition to maintaining accessible waterways for manatees that visit Port Everglades each winter, the bridge has low lighting that does not interfere with the sea turtle hatching season.
Port Everglades has a responsibility to protect South Florida’s unique marine environment, which includes sea turtles and manatees. As many as 200 manatees arrive at this canal in Port Everglades annually. Florida manatees are marine mammals found in shallow coastal water ecosystems and tend to congregate in warm Florida during the winter season.
The new bridge is a capital improvement project by Broward County’s Port Everglades Department and the Public Works Department’s Seaport Engineering and Construction Division. The general contractor is Moss & Associates, LLC. The engineering firm of record is EAC Consulting, Inc.
Port Everglades is one of the nation’s leading container ports and a trade gateway to Latin America and Caribbean. Port Everglades has direct access to the interstate highway system, is within two miles of the FEC rail hub and is just one mile from the Atlantic Shipping Lanes. Ongoing capital improvements and expansion ensure that Port Everglades will have the ability to handle future growth in container traffic. A world-class cargo handling facility, Port Everglades serves as an ideal point of entry for products shipped around the world.