Bridge of Lions
The Bridge of Lions is a bascule bridge that spans the Intracoastal Waterway in St. Augustine, Florida. A part of State Road A1A, it connects downtown St. Augustine to Anastasia Island. A pair of Medici lions made of marble used to guard the bridge, begun in 1925 and completed in 1927 across Matanzas Bay. The lions were removed in February 2005 and returned in March 2011. Roads & Bridges magazine named the Bridge of Lions as fourth in the nation’s top 10 bridges for 2010. Projects were evaluated based on size, community impact and challenges resolved. The Department of Transportation declared the bridge "structurally deficient and functionally obsolete" in 1999, prompting heated debates on what to do with the structure. A restoration plan was approved, but opponents continued to voice their opposition. Reynolds, Smith & Hills from nearby Jacksonville was awarded the engineering and design contract, estimated at $77 million, and projected to require five years to complete.

First Bridge
Prior to the Bridge of Lions in 1925, there was a wooden bridge, called simply, "The Bridge to Anastasia Island" or "South Beach railroad bridge". It was built in 1895, and after a major renovation in 1904, the bridge could accomodate a trolley. The span contained no rise, and had a movable opening for ship traffic, and charged a toll for transit.

Original Bridge of Lions
Once the old bridge had outlasted its practical use, massive growth in the city spurred the need for a new modern bridge. In 1917, the city employed noted bridge engineer John Edwin Greiner. Construction begain in 1925, completed in 1927, and costs $1,000,000 . The Bridge of Lions is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was included by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) on its list of the "11 Most Endangered Historic Sites" in the nation for 1997. The Bridge of Lions was later featured on the cover of the Trust's 1999 engagement calendar. From its earliest days, it was hailed as "The Most Beautiful Bridge in Dixie." It has long been a symbol of the nation's oldest city. It gets its name from two Carrara marble Medici lions statues that are copies of those found in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, Italy. The statues were a gift of Dr. Andrew Anderson (1839”“1924), the builder of the Markland House. The lions reference the name "Leon" in Ponce De Leon, which means "Lion" in Spanish.

Replacement bridge
A "temporary" bridge was constructed adjacent to the original bridge and traffic was diverted to this structure while the original bridge was being rehabilitated and reconstructed to look like its predecessor. After nearly 80 years of service, an official closing ceremony for the original Bridge of Lions was held on May 26, 2006. Isabella Heard, one of the young girls on the lead float in the opening of the bridge in 1927, was there, in a wheelchair, to tie the ribbon for its closing 79 years later. Several components of the original bridge were either being rehabilitated or returned (as lost components) to the rehabilitated bridge. Primarily, the exterior or fascia steel girders are being rehabiliated along with the bascule tower piers. Once the rehabiliation of the original bridge is completed, at a total project cost of $80 million and 4 percent over budget,. The temporary bridge will be removed and used as part of an artificial reef just offshore. The two lions were in safe storage for the duration of the construction. Renovation work was completed on March 17, 2010 when it reopened for use. . Following the removal of the temporary bridge (to an offshore reef), and landscaping, the restored Lion statures were returned after a 6 year absence, early in the morning of March 15, 2011 , principally completing the bridge rennovation project.