Impressive 2.7 miles of Space Commerce Way
Melbourne, Fla.—Space Florida applied for a U.S. Department of Transportation grant that would enable construction of a new span in 2021. The grant, recently signed by Governor DeSantis, provides funds to rebuild the Indian River Bridge and roadway improvements to Space Commerce Way in Merritt Island. The state of Florida, led by Space Florida and supported by FDOT, was named an INFRA Grant award recipient by the U.S. Department of Transportation in a partnership with NASA and FHWA for both the Indian River Bridge Replacement and roadway improvements to Space Commerce Way.
The federal grant will help replace a deteriorating bridge that serves as a critical link for employees, tourists and spacecraft bound for Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The $126 million bridge project includes new high-level fixed bridges that replace the current twin draw bridges built in 1964. Bridge enhancements will provide critical support for large vehicles that are necessary for future space launches. The new bridges will also serve as a public access route between the mainland near Titusville and North Merritt Island as well as a hurricane evacuation route for residents of the barrier islands in the area.
Also included in the grant funding is widening approximately 2.7 miles of Space Commerce Way to four lanes. Improvements along this corridor offer enhanced access for the public and commercial traffic, which helps to ensure critical commerce through the area, benefiting all businesses including those in the space industry. Roadway improvements on this corridor total an additional $24 million.
Built in 2001, Space Commerce Way is a mostly two-lane road that loops from State Road 3 on Merritt Island to State Road 405, also called the NASA Causeway. The road cuts through state-run Exploration Park, where Blue Origin has built a massive factory for New Glenn rockets and OneWeb Satellites aims to crank out small communications satellites. Firefly Aerospace also announced their plans to build Alpha and Beta rockets there too. These three companies are responsible to produce nearly 1,000 jobs, and a need to move heavy equipment back and forth from the mainland to manufacturing sites and launch facilities.
The construction of the new bridges is anticipated to begin in late 2021 and estimated to be complete in 2025. “Getting this bridge fixed now is critical to growing the industry and launch cadence here in Florida and will modernize the Cape Canaveral Spaceport infrastructure so Florida can remain a global leader in space commerce and exploration.” said Frank DiBello, Space Florida President and CEO.
Construction of the improvements to Space Commerce Way is expected to begin in late 2022 and estimated to be complete by late 2024.
As commercial vehicles and truck insurance brokers located in Melbourne, Florida, we could not be more pleased with these amazing news and the benefits it will bring to many of our hard working clients in the Space Coast area.
Contact one of our local commercial/truck insurance agents to find out what options are available for your trucking and transportation business in the Space Coast area, and help you start saving on the protections needed to keep it always afloat. Melbourne Truck Insurance has the products and underwriting experience that meet the insurance needs of your business.
Give us a call for a FREE consultation (321) 329-5556, at Melbourne Truck Insurance.
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