HIGHER level structures less vulnerable to storm surge will replace Florida's hurricane damaged Escambia Bay bridges project engineers said this week.
The new $243M (£135M) structures will be 5m higher than their predecessors and will have longer spans.
Two parallel structures make up the original 4.1km crossing, with most sections just 3m above water level A heavy storm surge destroyed around 1km of the deck when Hurricane Ivan struck the north west Florida coast last September (NCE 23 September 2004).
Florida transportation offi als cited the low level as a reason for the damage.
The new structure will clear the water by 8m, rising to 23m above the shipping lane. Spans for the approach structures will increase from 20m to 45m.
Ground investigations are under way and construction will begin in August. Work is being carried out by a design build joint venture of Tidewater Skanska and Flatiron Constructors. Design is subcontracted to Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas.