Gasparilla Island will begin to face a month of single-lane traffic starting Jan. 22.
Flagmen will be used with two new traffic signals at each end of the new South Bridge at least through Feb. 21.
One message board set near North Village and another set about 1,500 feet prior to the north end of the bridge will offer the latest information updates. Thirteen nights of work are scheduled during the 30-day single-lane period.
"We enter the New Year with excellent bridge construction progress to date," said Jim Cooper, Gasparilla Island Bridge authority executive director. "Orion remains on schedule and under budget."
Grinding and grooving of the new 240-foot South Bridge concrete deck surface was competed Dec. 29.
"The new deck surface has been ground down and smoothed out to a level far above and beyond normal Florida Department of Transportation bridge deck specifications to attain a rare and exceptional level of zero variation, which equals perfection," Cooper said. " This new very smooth surface will provide an excellent travel experience for all of GIBA's future customers for the next 75 years.
Bridge construction keys
Prime fixed-bridge contractor: Orion Marine Construction of Tampa
Start: Construction began March 12, 2012, on Center and South fixed bridges
South Bridge completion: March 2013
Center Bridge completion: December 2013
Swing Bridge completion: January 2016
Beginning Friday, Orion's crews will install the new Wyoming Steel tube traffic safety railings, guardrails and scenic-view sidewalk pedestrian railing on the new South Bridge.
New approach slabs and new sidewalk curbs were also completed Dec. 29 along with new imbedded lighting to illuminate the pedestrian sidewalk after dark.
Construction is nearing the halfway point. GIBA reported Jan. 2 on Day 297 of the 638-day project that Orion Marine Construction crews have the tri-bridge project 44.5 percent complete.
The finish date for the new South Bridge remains March 2013, completion for the 800-foot-long Center Bridge remains December 2013 and the Swing Bridge should be done by January 2016.
South Bridge progress notes
Asphalt paving on the north approach begins Jan. 7 and south approach Jan. 8 with flagging operations.
Bridge painting set for Jan. 7-12.
Center Bridge progress notes
Beginning this week, Orion crews will form the concrete pedestal pads for I-beams to sit upon. Finish work on other Center Bridge structures is being completed.
I-Beams work to begin in first quarter of 2013. Beams are custom-engineered for the GIBA to support the final traffic deck. There are six spans with four beams supporting the new deck under each span. Each span length is 137 feet long by 63 inches tall.