Posts by Bruno Zanini

THE CITY OF CLEWISTON C-21 BRIDGE OPENS

Creating a means for recreational access, boaters’ access, and continuing waterside improvements brought about the inception of the C-21 Bridge project. 

This bridge project idea was conceived more than 10 years ago when South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) determined that the gated culvert structure, known as S-169, was failing due to material deterioration. While the City of Clewiston wanted continued access to the recreational area north of the canal, they also wanted to have boat access to the west. After a series of discussions, SFWMD agreed to construct a replacement structure about a mile and a half to the west. This opened the possibility of boat access, but also led to needing a bridge at this location. Johnson Engineering was brought into the project in April of 2019. 

Some options for construction were considered. Once permitting started, it was realized that a clear span over the canal decreased environmental concerns and would make future boat traffic safer. The longer span increased the cost of the structure, but made it come to a reality with long-term benefits. There were options to fill for the approaches. It was finally decided to minimize space used by confining the fill inside mechanically stabilized earth (MSE), so that the least amount of parking would be consumed by the approach road.

The use of a bridge had two primary objectives. The first was to cross the canal for access to the recreational area and providing an adequate crossing for maintenance by SFWMD and the United States Army Corps of Engineers with heavy equipment needed to maintain the dike and structures. The second was to provide clearance above the water elevation for boat passage. The bridge structure with MSE walls was designed by another consultant, WGI, using standard FDOT girders with a poured-in-place deck.

The City realized that financial assistance would be needed for such a project. They worked with the local State legislative delegation and were provided with funds adequate to design, permit, construct, and have construction observations completed.

Construction began in September 2022, just before Hurricane Ian plowed across the State. No damage was done, and construction resumed within a week. Work was required on both sides of the canal and SFWMD restricted use of the existing culverted structure. The contractor, Zep Construction, met that challenge by using their crane to lift and swing over the canal dirt, MSE panels, concrete, and other items too heavy to move in a pickup truck. This continued until the bridge deck was in place along with sufficient progress made with soil and MSE walls to drive across the partially completed facility.

The City decided to enhance the look of the MSE walls in two ways. The first was to have a bass image cast in the concrete for some of the panels. The panels with the bass image were spaced across the walls. No bass panels were used near the canal. This was purposeful to provide a place for medallions on each side of the opening. The medallions will match those on the City’s entry signs along US 27.

Lighting of the road, sidewalk, and buffered-bike lanes was desired. The City Commission reviewed available poles and luminaires. The style chosen will be used to illuminate the improvements under design for Ventura Avenue from Deane Duff Avenue to W. C. Owen Avenue. The luminaires have LEDs for illumination. The poles and luminaires are powder coated for long life. They are also capable of receiving attachments for banners if desired in the future.

This facility is a signature project for the City and will be the start of other improvements envisioned for this area in a recent planning study conducted through the Regional Planning Council. Manager Randy Martin said “it will anchor the waterside improvements on both sides of the Herbert Hoover Dike that the City has under consideration.”

For more information contact Andy Tilton, PE, at [email protected]

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THE LEE COUNTY EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER EXPANSION PROJECT BREAKS GROUND

Johnson Engineering attended the groundbreaking ceremony in November for the Lee County Emergency Operations Center Expansion project, along with the rest of the design team, construction team, Lee County leadership, and Southwest Florida emergency response teams. 

This project is an expansion to one of our community’s most essential facilities when responding to disasters. It will house first-responder agencies, emergency relief organizations, and other essential agencies required to help the County recover from disasters.

Slated to open in 2025, the facility will add 38,000 square feet to the current space, including two additional floors, training facilities, sleeping areas, restrooms, showers, as well as new state of the art technology. 

Johnson Engineering is very proud to be part of this project, which will contribute to the readiness and efficiency of recovery response efforts in our growing Southwest Florida community. 

For more information contact Tyler Sharpe, PE, at [email protected].

 

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19TH ANNUAL CLEAN UP AT LOVERS KEY STATE PARK CONTINUES TO HONOR OUR COMPANY’S ROOTS

On Saturday, October 21, more than 60 Johnson Engineering employees, family, and friends, volunteered for the company’s 19th year cleaning and fixing up of Lovers Key/Carl E. Johnson State Park, the park which bears our founder’s name.

Lovers Key/Carl E. Johnson State Park bears the name of our company founder, Carl E. Johnson, due to his efforts in the 1960s surveying the area and helping convince the landowners to not develop, but preserve this natural gem, eventually establishing this popular 1100-acre State Park. 

All our volunteer efforts help keep the park looking its best for the visitors it attracts worldwide. This year volunteers gathered at the Lovers Key Welcome & Discovery Center and then divided into eight groups to tackle various projects throughout this popular park such as painting, rebuilding ramps, shelves, fences, and stairs that Hurricane Ian destroyed. 

Things looked different this year after the park and area are still recovering from Ian, but our team was able to complete all eight projects the park needed us for this year. In one morning, our team knocked out projects that typically would have taken the park staff months to complete. 

This annual event’s volunteer efforts were previously recognized by The Friends of Florida State Parks with the Outstanding Volunteer Team of the Year Award for exceptional service and support. 

For more information contact Juli Kern at [email protected].

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JOHNSON ENGINEERING SUPPORTS OUR MOTHER’S HOME

Johnson Engineering’s annual Give Back initiative grew out of our belief that our company has an ongoing responsibility to contribute to help positively shape our local community and those who will be the future of our communities. Our search for an organization that matched our belief led us to Our Mother’s Home of Southwest Florida. 

This organization provides young mothers, ages 11-21, in foster care and human trafficking systems, a safe, nurturing, and supporting environment to stay with their babies, learn life skills, and finish their education. Their mission is to empower them to break the generational cycle for themselves and their children. 

This Christmas, Johnson Engineering employees donated hundreds of new toys, personal care items, clothing, and household items to the home. At the delivery, we also brought a special reindeer, Guinness the miniature horse. Guinness is specially trained as a therapy horse. He and his Johnson Engineering team met up with Santa and enjoyed a festive gathering with the staff, mothers, and children at Our Mother’s Home.

Community support is such an important resource for supporting Our Mother’s Home. Improving their resources will help them to empower these young women with knowledge and create a future filled with hope and possibilities.

We are honored to support such an important and impactful cause. For more information about Our Mother’s Home visit their website at https://www.ourmothershome.org, or contact Juli Kern at [email protected].  

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