Department of Transportation engineers told a public meeting Tuesday night that the bridge, built in 1959, needs to be replaced with a taller, more saltwater-resistant span.
District engineer John Casey says the current 138-foot clearance above the water line keeps larger ships out of the channel.
Project engineer Victor Vourcus says several plans to replace the bridge, which is undergoing a $29 million upgrade, are being considered for cost, safety, maintenance and hurricane evacuation routes. The most expensive option, at $600 million to $800 million, scored the highest feasibility rating, intersecting Interstate 37 and connecting to the city's Crosstown Expressway.
Construction could begin by 2017.