Photo for Headline Surfer / The long-awaited opening of the the bridge in Daytona Beach named for the late Tom Staed is finally opening to traffic on Thursday.
By SERA KING / Headline Surfer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- A ceremonial vehicle caravan will drive across the Tom Staed Veterans Memorial Bridge in Daytona Beach Thursday morning to mark its vehicular lane opening.
Volusia County Council leaders and officials from the City of Daytona Beach also will take part in the caravan of vehicles, after which the bridge will open for use by the general public.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, "this will be a low-key event with no ribbon-cutting or plans for a large public gathering," county spokesman Gary Davidson told Headline Surfer.
County Councilwoman Billie Egger Wheeler, whose district 2 seat includes Daytona Beach, reiterated the need to keep the event low key, citing the pandemic.
Wheeler will be on hand at 8:30 a.m. to move a construction barricade out of the way so that a caravan of dozen motor vehicles comprised of municipal and county officials as well as Mrs. Staed will be the first to drive the 1,885-foot-long concrete arch that has been under construction for more than four years, replacing the Orange Avenue Bridge.
The $47 million bridge is complemented by a $23 million upgrade of Riverfront Park and $4 million makeover of adjoining Beach Street. Most of the funding comes from federal and state grants as well as Community Redevelopment monies through the county.
The bridge was expected to open 18 months ago, but was slowed by several hurricanes along the way as well as issues connected to the contractor.
It is one of five high-rise bridges in greater Daytona Beach a few blocks east of north-south US 1 and over the Halifax Intracoastal Waterway to beachside a few blocks west of A1A.
The others are the Dunlawton Bridge, The Daytona International Speedway Bridge, the Seabreeze Bridge and the Granada Bridge. With the Orange Avenue Bridge gone, the last remaining draw bridge is the Main Street Bridge.
Background info on the new bridge: For a chronology on the origins of the bridge, including design, costs and other interesting elements, please click the link here: Tom Staed Veterans Memorial Bridge - Volusia County Project
About the Byline Writer:
Sera King is associate publisher of Headline Surfer, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet serving greater Daytona Beach, Sanford, and Orlando, FL via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. King also is a byline writer, videographer and cartoonist for the media outlet. King received her bachelor's degree in Business Administration (3.84 gpa) from Ana G. Mendez University in Orlando in 2008.
Headline Surfer LLC is published by Henry Frederick, Central Florida's award-winning journalist.