Ringling Causeway Bridge

Project Detail

The Ringling Causeway Bridge is a replacement structure for an existing two-lane bascule bridge over the Ringling Causeway located in Sarasota, Florida. This high-level, long-span bridge is a vital crossing over the beautiful Sarasota Bay that connects local residents to Bird Key and is the main hurricane evacuation route for these barrier island residents.

The project included the construction of new parks and the reconstruction of the coastal protection system; and also included extensive utility, signalization, lighting, and the demolition of the existing bascule bridge structure.

Project Highlights

The bridge structure consist of a multi-cell post tensioned concrete box girder with spans of about 184 feet to about 300 feet, supported by reinforced concrete piers and footings on drilled shafts. The superstructure erection was created by a balanced cantilever method with precast segments; pier segments and closures were cast in place. Two precast half-segments were used over the width of the single three-cell girder. The final girder section is symmetrical about its mid-width, but the individual half-segments are not.

  • The top-deck spread — accommodates four traffic lanes, emergency lanes, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian sidewalks.
  • The Ringling Causeway Bridge is the widest precast segmental bridge (single box) in the state of Florida.
  • On any given day, some 34,500 vehicles hustle back and forth across the 3,097-foot long superstructure that connects the mainland with Bird Key, St. Armands, Lido Key and Longboat Key.
  • The bridge and its dazzling panorama now seem as natural a fit as the coconut palms and tiki bars below.

Client: Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)

Location: Sarasota, Florida

Area: 3,097 foot-long and 65 foot-tall

Finished: 2003

Cost: $70 million

Remarks: At over 106 ft in width, the Ringling Causeway Bridge set a new record at the time of completion as the World’s widest segmental concrete bridge.

description

This segmental box girder, high-level, long span bridge replaced the existing low-level Bascule Bridge that had become structurally deficient. The Bridge is a vital crossing over the beautiful Sarasota Bay and is the main hurricane evacuation route for the barrier island residents. Construction of this 3,100-foot, multilane, precast segmental bridge was accomplished by employing accelerated bridge construction (ABC) methods such as balanced cantilever. The project included the construction of new parks and the reconstruction of the coastal protection system, and also included extensive utility, signalization, lighting, and the demolition of the existing bascule bridge structure. At over 106 ft in width, the Ringling Causeway Bridge set a new record at the time of completion as the World’s widest segmental concrete bridge.

the challenges

The Ringling Causeway replacement bridge has been a challenging bridge to design and construct. To maximize economy and speed of construction, the team has chosen to precast the box girder. With the final deck width of 107 feet, the segments will be cast in halves with a longitudinal closure in both the top and bottom slabs cast-in-place. Pier segments are 16.5 feet deep and typical segments are 8.2 feet deep. There are eleven spans that are each approximately 300 feet long.

project goals

The existing bridge was obsolete and its requirement to regularly open for navigational traffic causes the roadway traffic to back up into adjacent intersections near the bridge. This greatly impacts the traffic flow in and around the causeway crossing. The solution was a replacement bridge with a high-level structure that can carry six lanes of traffic.