[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]5/16/19- The Atlantic Blvd. Bridge renovation project, crossing the Intracoastal, is nearing completion. When done, it will be a major piece of public art n Pompano Beach and a passageway for pedestrians to stroll underneath.

“The estimated completion date of the Atlantic Boulevard Bridge is mid to late June,” according to Sandra King spokesperson for the city.  She added, “Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint completion dates any more precisely. Construction is subject to final inspections and approvals by outside agencies, our Building Department and weather.”


Much of the artwork, designed and drawn by artist Dennis Friel is finished and looks incredible.  You can see some of the pictures in the photo gallery below (Courtesy: Facebook/Rhonda Bunker).

In a recent interview, Horacio Danovich, the Critical Infrastructure Protection [CIP] and Innovation District Director told us, “This bridge is a symbolic ‘welcome’ to all who visit our beachfront,” The Pompano Beach CRA made $1.5 million available to make the first phase of improvements to the bridge, followed by an additional $3.5 million to complete the project.

CSA Architect partner Jess Sowards said he believes the bridge will help shape the city in an important way.

“Their [the City and CRA Advisory Committee’s] understanding that parking garages and bridges are symbols of the city, not just functioning structures, has set the style for the type of businesses, hotels and developments that now want to be part of this growing community,” Sowards said.


Dennis Friel is the creative mastermind, skilled painter and digital madman behind the marine themed murals. Friel was our cover story in Pompano! magazine earlier this year and told us:

He named the project “Atlantic Harmony” to represent the deeper meaning he hopes to convey through the murals. A bridge, he said, is a harmonious idea; It creates connection and builds community between two places, between diverse people. Harmony is also found in the Atlantic Ocean where a rich and abundant marine ecosystem exists, each diverse species of fish, coral and marine life uniquely contributing to a wondrous, self-balancing system.

The artwork includes six large panels — some as big as 70 feet by 10 feet — plus some corner details. Combined the panels feature approximately 50 different species of marine life, blended throughout an ever-changing underwater and oceanside landscape. The underwater parts are playful, ethereal and evoke a sense of peering into the magic below the sea. A few Pompano Beach landmarks are spotted throughout the murals, including the Hillsboro Lighthouse.

The largest, signature sections of the work, which will be featured on the north side of the bridge, are lively paintings of majestic sailfish thrashing their bodies and plunging through crystal water. Those two murals were entirely painted by hand on canvas in Friel’s studio before being digitized and printed as wrap on substrate, which will be attached to the bridge.

The four other panels are an amalgamation of painting, digital artwork and illustrative design. Friel’s process for creating those multi-media pieces was impressive. He painted each individual species of fish by hand, incorporating every characteristic detail — from the way the light hits the eye of a king mackeral, to the anatomy of a wahoo fin, to the way the grey cascades into the yellow of a sergeant major. Then, he scanned or photographed each painting to attain a high-resolution digital image. He then manipulated his paintings and arranged them like puzzle pieces onto a large digital canvas, which he shaped and sized using the architectural drawings of the bridge. Masterfully using Photoshop, he digitally created the environments around the fish, blending each element together into a cohesive scene.

The complicated process required Friel to think carefully through a thousand details — the shape of each panel, the various structural elements of the bridge that might alter one’s vision of the painting from various viewpoints, how each panel works together and where best to place each marine species authentically. In addition, the extremely large file sizes for such a project were painfully slow, so strategizing when and how to make changes to the work was an art in and of itself.

The city website has some extensive design prototypes that help to further explain the purpose of and the expected usage for the project.


Photos: Courtesy/Facebook-Rhonda Bunker

Note if photos below are blurry, double click and a new photo viewer will open with super clear pictures.

This story was prepared by our Pompano Beach news desk with additional  information from various public sources and other websites.

For more Pompano Beach news and things to do in Pompano Beach read Pompano! magazine and search our website.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_gallery interval=”3″ images=”7756,7757,7758,7755″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row]


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This post was prepared by staff at Point! Publishing. For inquiries call 954-603-4553.

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