KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – From Apollo to Space Shuttle to SpaceX: Since 1964, millions of space enthusiasts have crossed the NASA Causeway connecting Titusville to the Kennedy Space Center.
But now NASA says a new bridge is needed because the structurally declining drawbridge could become unsafe.
In a groundbreaking ceremony held Tuesday, the Florida Department of Transportation secretary said a fixed-span bridge will be taller and wider—60 feet above the Indian River, to be exact.
‘’The current 57-year-old drawbridge has been witness to some of mankind’s greatest achievements,’’ Kevin Thibault said.
Costing $126 million, the project’s supporters said the new bridge will be cheaper than maintaining the old one.
‘’We will enable the reconstruction of this crucial, critical bridge,’’ Lt. Governor Jeannette Nunez said.
Nunez is the chair of Space Florida’s board of directors.
‘’We’re excited for the residents, the visitors, the employees that arrive at the gates each day to advance Florida’s position as a leader in the space,’’ she said.
Supporters said a larger bridge will also help transport larger space hardware like rockets.
The project will also widen Space Commerce Way, the road that runs by Blue Origin’s rocket factory near the causeway.
Jeff Bezos’ space company will use the road to transport its 300-foot New Glenn to Blue Origin’s new launchpad at the Cape.
Kennedy Space Center’s director described the causeway as America’s link to space.
‘’I’m not sure that anyone back then would have imagined that the bridge would last so long as it has and that when it was going to be rebuilt, it would be providing access to the nation’s premiere, multi-user spaceport,’’ Janet Petro said.
The new bridge is scheduled to be complete in 2025.