State governor Ron DeSantis has announced the finalisation of a US$90 million federal grant for transport improvements along Florida’s Space Coast, including a new Indian River Bridge. The grant was originally earmarked for the project in 2019 (link opens in new tab).

The US$126 million bridge project includes new high-level fixed bridges that replace the current twin draw spans built in 1964. The bridge enhancements will be suitable for the 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.

“We are preparing for future growth, facilitating local commerce, and ensuring economic vitality for Florida’s booming Space Coast all while encouraging space freight mobility,” said DeSantis. “As part of these efforts, this grant solidifies the final funding needed to replace the Indian River Bridge, which will benefit commercial space transportation and the residents and visitors of the Space Coast.”

Florida Department of Transportation secretary Kevin Thibault said: “The infrastructure of the Space Coast has been witness to some of mankind’s greatest achievements, and these improvements will support future launches and space exploration.”

Construction of the new bridges is anticipated to begin in late 2021 for completion in 2025.