New Kings Road Bridge OK'd by Neptune Beach

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Byline: Christopher F. Aguilar, Shorelines staff writer

The Kings Road bridge, an aging timber structure, will be replaced with a low-maintenance concrete bridge since the Neptune Beach City Council approved a contract Monday with a Jacksonville-based consultant to design the new bridge.

"It's been a long time coming," said Councilwoman Harriet Pruette. "We've talked about it for many, many years, but I'm glad it is getting started. It's time we dealt with a problem that needs to be addressed."

The Kings Road bridge is a one-lane timber bridge that leads into the Seagate Forest neighborhood on the Intracoastal Waterway; it's the only access into the neighborhood.

The city will pay Jacksonville-based GAI Consultants $108, 244 to design a one-lane concrete bridge with a pedestrian walkway over Hopkins Creek and to inspect the construction of the bridge once it begins.

Project manager Ronald Hoogland said the bridge's design will take about four months with actual construction taking another 21/2 months.

The consultant will also hold two public meetings to gather input from residents about the bridge's design.

"The community will have a chance to comment," Hoogland said. "We are conscientious of public perception."

Last year, the city had to perform emergency repairs on the bridge after a Florida Department of Transportation consultant reported that the span's three wooden beams stretching from shore to shore were fractured at the mid-point. The city spent $8,700 to replace the three wooden beams but the council decided that it needed to replace the aging bridge. An engineer hired by the city estimated a new bridge could cost $438,805. …