Lake Worth, Florida’s old Lake Worth Bridge—which carried what is now Rt. 802 over the Lake Worth Lagoon (part of the Intracoastal Waterway)—was constructed with the assistance of federal Public Works Administration (PWA) funds. The PWA supplied a $138,000 loan and $112,909 grant for the project, whose total cost was $263,428. The draw bridge was built as a toll bridge. Construction occurred between August 1936 and December 1937. The bridge has since been demolished.
The Coastal Star:
Discussions began immediately to replace the “the old and dilapidated wooden bridge,” as it was referred to in the press, and a new concrete drawbridge was finished in 1937. It was state of the art in a time when Intracoastal Waterway bridges at Southern Boulevard, Blue Heron Boulevard and Lantana were all wooden.
Said local historian Bill McGoun, a retired editorial writer for The Palm Beach Post: “The only thing I recall about the ’37 bridge, which was the bridge when I was growing up in the ’40s and ’50s, was that it was lit by first-generation sodium-vapor lights that had the unfortunate side effect of making everything look yellow, including people.”
The bridge lasted until 1973, when a $4 million four-lane replacement was completed, its western landing just south of its 1937 ancestor. It was the tallest single-leaf bascule bridge in the state. The east and west ends of the ’37 bridge were left as fishing piers.
The bridge underwent a $4.6 million rehabilitation in 1997. Last year, the remnants of the old ’37 bridge were demolished and a new fishing pier built as part of a $2 million Snook Islands Natural Area project.
PWA Docket No. FL 4157
National Archives: Record Group 135: Public Works Administration; Projects Control Division; Entry 52: Indices to Non-Federal Projects; Report No. 5: Status of All Completed Non-Federal Allotted Projects, page 90. The Coastal Star: "Spanning the waters: Bridge went from stormy past to state of the art," by Mary Kate Leming, 2012: http://thecoastalstar.ning.com/profiles/blogs/spanning-the-waters-bridge-went-from-stormy-past-to-state-of-the-
Project originally submitted by Evan Kalish on January 19, 2015.
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