Published: Jan 31, 2012 4:03 AM EST
Updated: Jan 31, 2012 6:07 AM EST

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla -- Collier County commissioner approved a contract to spend $4 million to replace two bridge in Golden Gate Estates.

A recent bi-annual inspection revealed both bridges have structural deficiencies. While they're still safe for the public, they have posted weight limits.
The Golden Gate Canal Bridge and the Miller Canal Bridge were both built in 1960 and are now limited to 19 tons.

The bridges are in Commissioner Jim Coletta's district. He says, "it's raising all sorts of problems."

Now, $4 million will be spent to replace to the two bridges. Coletta says, "you have to take into account vehicles going across at a continuous rate over many many years. There is shaking that takes place, eventually the concrete deteriorates exposing the metal framework and that in turn starts rusting. When that happens, the integrity of the bridge is challenged."

Both bridges were supposed to be replaced as part of a larger expansion project to make Golden Gate Boulevard four lanes. When funds ran out a few years ago, that project was put on hold.

"At some point it won't be a safe bridge to use, so we have to address that now rather than take a chance," Coletta says.

Commissioner Coletta hopes to get the road widening project back on the agenda in the near future. He says when that time comes, the new bridges will be right on line with that project.

"We got a $4 million dollar investment going into these two bridges and if they're put in now, when we get ready to build the final road, we'll have that amount of the cost taken off the bottom line," Coletta said.

The bridges will be rebuilt one at a time. Construction is set to start this fall and end in 2013.