DRIVERS , START YOUR ENGINES
Ayres inspectors clear Daytona Beach bridge to carry on century-old tradition
By Bob Brown
F or well more than a century , a bridge
has connected the mainland of
Daytona Beach , Fla ., with the southern end of the barrier island that is home to many of the city ’ s now famous Atlantic Coast beaches .
The original bridge , built in 1899 , established the connection between what today is Orange Avenue on the city ’ s mainland and Silver Beach Avenue on the island .
In 1954 , that bridge was replaced with a bascule drawbridge that five years later would be named the Veterans Memorial Bridge . After it had served the Daytona Beach area for 62 years , Volusia County officials announced in 2016 that the deteriorating drawbridge was being closed , having been deemed “ functionally obsolete .”
Over the next four years , design and construction was completed on a new and much-improved Veterans Memorial Bridge . The high-rise , open spandrel , concrete arch bridge was opened to vehicular and pedestrian traffic on Aug . 6 , 2020 .
Several bridges in Daytona Beach now span the Halifax River , which is part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway . The new Veterans Memorial Bridge is the southernmost of those structures , and to minimize environmental and right-ofway concerns , it was built along virtually the same alignment as the drawbridge it replaced .
On the river , “ the new bridge serves much more recreational traffic than commercial vessels ,” said Rick Maslyn , supervisor of structural inspection for Ayres . Commercial traffic on the river www . AyresAssociates . com 21