TITUSVILLE, Florida -- The numbers are in, and the A. Max Brewer Bridge project in Titusville, Florida took first in the nation in the 5th annual America's Transportation Award People’s Choice Award, a national contest sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
The award goes to the transportation project voted the best by on-line voters. The A. Max Brewer Bridge received 331,198 votes out of more than 710,000 in the national competition. The awards were announced Sunday during the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials annual meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
It was a tight race between the A. Max Brewer Bridge, Florida’s entry, and California’s entry, the I-405/Sepulveda Pass Project – Mulholland Bridge Demolition; or "Carmageddon" as it became known. In addition to Florida and California, eight other states were competing as well.
"The U.S. Chamber congratulates the California and Florida DOTs for their pursuit of innovative solutions to their transportation needs," said Janet Kavinoky, executive director of transportation policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "In California, by embracing communications as a key strategy in transportation project management, Caltrans set the standard for public outreach. In Florida, the DOT showed it could not only serve the needs of commuters and the vitality of local businesses, but also benefit the environment. We are proud to highlight projects like these that are at the leading edge of best practices in modernizing and expanding the nation's transportation network."
The winner receives a $10,000 prize, which goes to the state agency’s charity of choice, plus bragging rights of being number one. Local leaders also look to the Max Brewer Bridge to enhance renewal efforts in Titusville and northern Brevard County.
DOT officials say that the on-line voting took on a life of its own - going viral. Government partners, such as Brevard County and the City of Titusville, Florida, as well as private firms such as Lane Construction Corporation, which built the bridge, played a vital part. The Florida Department of Transportation’s social media efforts also played a critical role.
Florida DOT rebuilt the structurally deficient A. Max Brewer Bridge over the Indian River making sure the new $44.8 million bridge included improvements to cut down on congestion in the area near Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The original swing bridge regularly delayed commuters heading to work and tourists checking out nearby attractions.
The rebuilding resulted in a new fixed span bridge with upgrades for both motorists and boaters. The project also dealt with many environmental challenges, as the bridge stretched across a sensitive environmental area that featured protected sea grass and manatee winter migration paths. Florida DOT paid special attention to the environmental impacts using innovative project management, all while eliminating the constant chokepoint in Titusville.
According to research done by the North Brevard Historical Society, Albert "Max" Brewer was a Titusville attorney in the 1950s and succeeded William Akridge as State Representative from Brevard County. In 1961 Gov. Bryant appointed Brewer to the State Road Board. In 1966 Brewer was killed when his private plane crashed. In 1983 a swing span bridge was renamed the A. Max Brewer Bridge in his honor. The swing span was replaced by the new bridge above.