Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gulf-to-Bay at U.S. 19 reopens two days after accident

Traffic moves through the intersection of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and U.S. 19 in Clearwater after it was reopened Thursday.


Traffic moves through the intersection of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and U.S. 19 in Clearwater after it was reopened Thursday.

CLEARWATER — After being shut down for two days, Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard at the U.S. 19 intersection reopened early Thursday.

And that was good news for workers whose jobs had turned into nightmares since two semitrailer trucks hit a sagging girder nearly two days before.

At a Jimmy John's restaurant just east of the intersection, employee Josh Knarich, 22, said deliveries had been delayed to the store and business dried up.

Drivers had to find cumbersome alternate routes to deliver sandwiches, often adding up to 40 minutes to the normal delivery time, Knarich said.

Outside, Vincent Eady, 47, sweated in the sun as he unloaded supplies for the store. The Sysco worker had been off Tuesday and Wednesday, but he had heard horror stories from his fellow drivers.

"I'm glad I was off," Eady said. Another driver told him it had taken 30 minutes to drive less than a half-mile between deliveries on Gulf-to-Bay.

The closed intersection created traffic backups Wednesday as motorists sought alternate routes around one of the busiest intersections in Pinellas County. Gulf-to-Bay was shut down Tuesday afternoon after the trucks hit the girder on a closed U.S. 19 overpass, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.

That old overpass was already closed to traffic. It was slated for demolition next week, because U.S. 19 traffic had already been moved to a new overpass as part of the ongoing road reconstruction.

By Wednesday afternoon, DOT officials said they had removed two of the four girders on the old bridge. It was taking about five hours to remove each girder. They originally planned to remove the damaged girder last, but decided to take it down next because it was sagging more and presented a hazard.

As for why the two trucks hit the overpass, investigators measured the trucks and found that they were not too high. Witnesses say the girder that was hit had started to sag before the crash, DOT spokeswoman Kris Carson said.

The old bridge was last inspected in March and no problems were found.

An investigation into the accident is continuing.

Gulf-to-Bay at U.S. 19 reopens two days after accident 05/08/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 8, 2014 9:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Navy expected to relieve admiral in charge of 7th Fleet in response to deadly disasters at sea


    The Navy will relieve the senior admiral in charge of the service's 7th Fleet based in Japan in response to four embarrassing accidents this year, two of which killed sailors at sea, two U.S. officials said.

    Tugboats assist the guided-missile destroyer John S. McCain on its way to Changi Naval Base in Singapore on Monday. [U.S. Navy]
  2. Trump chides media over Charlottesville


    President Donald Trump is blaming the media for the widespread condemnation of his response to a Charlottesville, Va., protest organized by white supremacists that led to the killing of a counter-protester.

    Trump met service members before the rally.
  3. Jones: Koetter-Winston exchange highlights latest 'Hard Knocks'


    There are certain things that make HBO's Hard Knocks must-see television.

    Jameis Winston, left, has an exchange with Dirk Koetter that highlights Hard Knocks.
  4. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.
  5. Mayor Rick Kriseman endorsed by another police union


    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is already backed by the city's largest police union, the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has secured another police union endorsement