Reinforcing a patio beam to remove a post
What I want: To get rid of the center post holding up my patio roof.
Why: We just added a beautiful water feature, and the center post ruins the view.
What I have: A 16 ft 4x8 horizontal beam mounted on three vertical 4x6 posts, one on each end and one in the center. The patio roof itself consists of asphalt shingles on plywood on 4x6 rafters on 16 inch centers. The beam is 13 feet from the house. The top of the beam (and the bottom of the rafters) is 90 inches above the concrete slab patio. The bottom of the rafters on the house end is 101 inches.
This is all located in suburban Phoenix, so snow is not an issue.
Some ideas for your comments if you would be so kind:
1- Just knock the center post out. Probably not a good idea.
2- Reinforce the 4x8 beam by bolting a 16 foot long 2x8 onto it. Reinforce the 4x6 posts by bolting a 2x6 onto each one for its entire height. Maybe even dig under the corners of the slab and pour a concrete footing. Then knock out the center post.
3- Add a 4x6 at a 45 degree angle starting 3 feet from each end of the beam to 3 feet below the top of each post. Maybe reinforce the posts and slab like in #2. Then knock out the center post.
4- Suspend the center from a (very) large helium balloon...never mind.
Any advice, ideas, or references to appropriate resources will be greatly appreciated.