Camino Real Bridge Rehabilitation Project
The Camino Real Bridge, among the oldest in Palm Beach County, is slated for a major overhaul with construction starting at 5 a.m. next Thursday, April 12, 2018. The construction project is expected to take approximately 12 months.
What will this mean for boaters?
The new bridge construction will include replacing the fender system which provides navigational aid to vessels by separating channels beneath the bridge, resulting in a half-channel closure during the project. However, the vertical clearance will remain the same.
The contractor will work with the U.S. Coast Guard to establish the dates on which full channel closures will be necessary. This will be published on a local notice for boaters.
While the architectural style of the bridge will remain somewhat the same, the bridge tender’s house will be relocated from the south side to the northeast corner for better line of sight.
A Brief History of the Camino Bridge
After the financial demise of Addison Mizner, the great architect largely responsible for the development of Boca Raton into a world-class destination of the rich in the early 20th century, a man by the name of Clarence H. Geist purchased most of the property along Camino Real at auction. He then commissioned the iconic 450-room Boca Raton Club addition to Mizner’s original 100-room Cloister Inn.
Geist had a swing bridge moved from Deerfield Beach and installed at Camino Real for the club opening in December 1929 so his guests would have easier access to the beach. This bridge was replaced by a more permanent structure, completed in 1939, a year after Geist’s death.
In 1997 the Camino, er, Clarence H. Geist Bridge was deemed worthy of the Historical Register with the help of the Boca Raton Historical Society. This made it difficult if not impossible to make any major changes to its structure. However, with three openings per hour and heavy vehicle traffic, the bridge had become increasingly unsafe, leading to the green-light for its much-needed renovation.