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The new Orange Ave. bridge in Daytona, named the Tom Staed Veterans Memorial Bridge, won’t be complete until some time in 2019, but it’s already turning heads with its unusual design. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that the $38 million project is the first of its kind in Florida to feature a concrete archway design. The bridge includes seven arches and 225 concrete pilings, some 100 feet long, and will be a unique tribute to local veterans, offering fishing piers with scenic overlooks.
“It’s going to be gorgeous,” Josh Wagner, a former Volusia County councilman who chaired a community committee that helped design the bridge, told the news agency. “I’m so pumped. How often do you get to be a part of something so big and awesome?”
While in office, Wagner vowed to lead a campaign to raise money for a veterans memorial plaza at the eastern base of the bridge that will feature a park-like setting with plaques honoring local veterans who lost their lives in combat. The nonprofit, Volusia County Veterans Memorial Plaza Inc., was formed by Wagner to collect donations for the plaza, which is expected to be a $1.4 million project.
“I want the message to be that the money is going to the plaza, it’s not going anywhere else,” Wagner told the news agency. “We are asking donations to be made specifically for the plaza.”
To raise money, community supporters and veteran volunteers are assisting Wagner with the sale of personalized bricks ranging in price from $125 to $400,000 that will be placed at the site of the plaza. Currently, $2,735 has been raised through brick sales toward the goal of $400,000, another $400,000 will be raised through plaque donations, and the remaining funds would come from grants.
“Nothing brings more attention to that bridge than the bridge itself, because it’s so neat looking,” he added. “People are asking questions about the bridge and that draws attention to the memorial plaza.”
The two-lane, 65-foot bridge will feature a 1920s design and include handicap accessibility, 8-foot sidewalks, fishing piers on both sides of the Halifax River, and plaques at 28 scenic overlooks commemorating conflicts in America’s military history. The plaques will include the outcomes of the conflicts; the number of killed, wounded and missing in action; plus a barcode to access additional data.
“It’s never been built in Florida,” Volusia engineer Gerald Brinton told the news agency, adding that its unique features could get national attention. “This one is going to be an award-winning bridge.”