A. Max Brewer Bridge wins 'People's Choice Award'
By Meagan McGone
BREVARD -- After a close competition, Titusville's A. Max Brewer Bridge won the vote of the people.
As part of the 5th Annual America's Transportation Awards competition, the A. Max Brewer Bridge was named winner of the "People's Choice Award," which provided $10,000 to Florida Department of Transportation.
The money must be donated to a charity or scholarship of the department's choice, according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, which hosts the awards, along with AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
California's I-405/Sepulveda Pass -- Mulholland Bridge Demolition project, better known as "Carmageddon," competed neck-and-neck for online votes with Titusville's bridge throughout the competition. Ultimately, the California bridge earned the judges' "Grand Prize Award," which also came with a $10,000 cash prize to be given to charity.
"We are honored to recognize these projects, both of which demonstrate all the hard work our state DOTs are doing to deliver transportation projects to the public ahead of schedule, under budget, and showing the very best uses of innovation," said John Horsley, executive director of American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, in a news release. "Our state DOTs know just how important it is to save taxpayer dollars and minimize inconvenience to the public, while delivering vital transportation projects that improve safety for all on the road and eliminate congestion, so that drivers can get to their destinations faster."
In addition to California's Carmageddon, the A. Max Brewer Bridge competed with transportation projects from eight other states.
Steve Olson, public information manager for Florida Department of Transportation, said online voting for the "People's Choice Award" went viral, taking on a life of its own.
"Government partners, such as Brevard County and the city of Titusville, as well as private firms such as Lane Construction Corporation, which built the bridge, played a vital part," he said. "The Florida Department of Transportation's social media efforts also played a critical role."
He said the A. Max Brewer Bridge is a great project that is not only functional - it's enjoyable, too.
"We have heard the bridge itself has become a destination," he said. "Not just something to get across by a car, but a place for walkers, joggers and anglers, since a fishing pier was part of the project."
The Florida Department of Transportation spent $44.8 million to replace the A. Max Brewer Bridge, which was originally built in the 1940s as a low-level swing bridge. The project reached completion in 2011.
According to research from the North Brevard Historical Society, Albert "Max" Brewer was a Titusville attorney in the 1950s and succeeded William Akridge as State Representative from Brevard County. In 1961, Gov. Bryant appointed Mr. Brewer to the State Road Board. In 1966, Mr. Brewer was killed when his private plane crashed.
In 1983 a swing span bridge was renamed the A. Max Brewer Bridge in his honor.