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Cedar Key Bridge Closing Causes Debate

Over the next four years Cedar Key, Fla., is scheduled to rebuild three bridges. Out of those, one has become a topic of debate.

The C Street Bridge connects to Dock Street, a one-way road home for many workers of Cedar Key’s restaurants and businesses, said Nelson Bedenbaugh, senior project manager at the Florida Department of Transportation.

“We’re looking to move it out to 2019,” he said. “That would give us more time to hopefully come up with some kind of solution that will maybe satisfy everybody a little better.”

The project was awarded to the city through the Federal Bridge Replacement program, and construction was approved to start in 2017, Bedenbaugh said.

If C Street Bridge is closed, residents are concerned local businesses will be affected negatively, he said.

“Right now, we’re still looking at options for the bridge replacement on C Street,” Bedenbaugh said. “We’ve looked at seven or eight options up to this point, and some of those options included others inside of them.”

Mayor Heath Davis said 2019 is too far away.

“The bridge is old,” he said. “C Street Bridge was built around 1969.”

He said when concrete structures in salt water aren’t properly maintained, 50 years is about as long as they have.

But Bedenbaugh said construction might be pushed back even later.

Some residents want to see the bridge raised four feet higher than the existing one. But he said they have not found a way to do that while connecting the gap during construction.

Mayor Davis said he does not want to see any more designs.

“With eight or more options, it’s clear they don’t know what they [engineers] want to do,” Davis said. “They need to make a decision based on health and safety.”

Contractors have yet to be involved in the planning process, he said.

“I think they should go ahead and move forward,” Davis said. “These are just engineers with ideas. When contractors get on site, that’s when you’re going to learn what needs to be done.”

Davis said contractors are the ones who can determine which options are realistic.

“When they get the folks there that build it, that’s when progress is made,” he said.

Kristina Orrego contributed to this story. 

Abbie is a reporter for WUFT News. Reach him by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing