Award of Merit: Historic Category
Rehabilitation of the Missouri/Ohio Historic Bridge
Mile Marker 39.0 of the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail
Submitted by Sika Corporation
Florida DEP—Office of Greenways & Trails
Intron Technologies, Inc.
Lyndhurst, New Jersey
More than a century ago, Henry Flager had the desire and vision to connect the East Coast railroad network to Key West, thus enabling access to the international markets for trade. The opening of the Panama Canal presented this opportunity, and this ambitious project was underway. The project started in 1905 and was completed in 1912. The Missouri/Ohio Historic Bridge is one of the many railroad bridges that were constructed as part of this enormous construction effort.
While the railroad initially led to boom years, numerous external factors led to the decline of the railroad economy. The storm of the century (1935) struck the Florida Keys and washed away much of the railroad network. The bridge survived, but the railroad could not afford to rebuild the entire network. The concrete bridges, such as the Missouri/Ohio Historic Bridge, were then widened by placing steel beams across them and encasing them with concrete, opening them to vehicular traffic. In the late 1990s, a new bridge was built to replace the 90-year-old Missouri/Ohio Historic Bridge.
The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT) decided to restore this bridge and make it part of the planned 60 mile (96.5 km) long trail. The steel columns had severely corroded and the structure became a safety concern. Cracks and spalls had to be repaired to restore the structure. Carbon fiber-reinforced polymer rods were embedded in the structure to make it safe. This project represents the ideal example of sustainability in the construction industry—a century-old structure is repurposed after 30 years and, 70 years later, is remodeled once again to serve a new purpose and will be preserved for many more years to come.