ST. PETERSBURG — Those who use the 40th Avenue Bridge to get to Shore Acres and Venetian Isles from the Old Northeast and Northeast Park neighborhoods will have to use alternate routes until at least late Thursday.
City officials closed the bridge Monday to allow for the design of a new traffic pattern that will be used by commuters as crews build a replacement bridge, said Engineering and Capital Improvement Projects Director Brejesh Prayman.
Detour signs will direct drivers to use the Snell Isle Boulevard NE bridge just to the south of the closure or the Bayou Grande Boulevard access from 62nd Avenue N.
This closure is just a preview of what's to come for those who regularly use the bridge. The 40th Avenue Bridge was closed in August for emergency repairs after inspectors found its steel infrastructure corroded, and now it needs to be replaced.
Construction is supposed to start next winter in late 2019 or early 2020 and could take up to 24 months. That means the closings, detours and construction could go on through 2021.
Crews will spend the new few days laying out the temporary lanes for drivers to use while the new bridge is being designed and built, Prayman said.
The goal is make sure residents have easier access in and out of the neighborhoods and to create a temporary traffic system that can stay in place while construction crews build the replacement bridge in phases.
"We want to maintain access for the residents into the neighborhoods at all times during the construction," Prayman said.
He said the city also hopes to add a lane for pedestrians and bicyclists later this year — but that require another bridge closure for two to three weeks.
The 40th Avenue Bridge is set to re-open by the end of Thursday, officials said.