Monday, December 18, 2017
Public safety

Gauging Sunshine Skyway wind conditions can be complicated

How do the "High Wind" flashing lights on the Sunshine Skyway bridge get turned on? Is it a sensor somewhere or does someone wet their finger and say: 'Gee, lots of wind today, better turn on those lights'? The reason I ask is that recently it was extremely windy, yet those lights were not on. Conversely, there have been times it wasn't windy at all and they were on.

Russell Skillman

Kris Carson of the Florida Department of Transportation told us that high wind conditions on a bridge like Sunshine Skyway are more complicated than one might think. "For example, if the wind is coming in the same direction as the bridge (essentially north or south), it is less of a concern than if it is at a 90-degree angle. The closer to a 90-degree angle, the lower the wind value it takes to cause concern. Also, vehicle 'profile' is an important factor. Finally, on the Skyway, the wind is often at different speeds at the various heights of the bridge," Carson said.

The Florida Highway Patrol is responsible for determining whether conditions are safe for crossing. Sustained wind speeds at higher levels trigger concern, and if FHP officials think the bridge is unsafe, they can manually activate the high-wind warning flashers or close the bridge.

Carson said wind speeds are monitored on site and at the Traffic Management Center. When conditions raise concern, a state trooper is assigned to monitor traffic on the bridge. If he or she observes vehicles like box trucks being buffeted by the winds, the trooper will close the bridge to those types of vehicles. As winds get higher, the officer can close the bridge to all vehicles, which is infrequent.

The construction that's under way on the bridge will include new overhead signs at both ends of the bridge that will be remotely controlled from the Traffic Management Center, Carson said.

Several days a week I travel to St. Anthony's Hospital via Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N. To turn left onto Fifth Avenue N is taking your life in your hands. If you are at the red light, the cars going south appear to be heading right at you; the road veers just before they do. The hard part then starts, waiting for traffic to let up to go left. Many people, including me, have gone through on the yellow light. That intersection needs a left turn arrow desperately before someone gets killed.

Judi Stewart

The issue is already on the radar of the city's traffic manager. Because this particular traffic signal belongs to the state, Bill Foster — St. Petersburg's traffic signal coordinator, not the mayor — is working with the state DOT. "We have made a request for a northbound left-turn arrow at this traffic signal to the FDOT. They are performing a warrant study and if they approve, the left turn will be added," Foster wrote in an email last week.

Email Dr. Delay at [email protected] to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Follow Dr. Delay on Twitter @AskDrDelay.

Comments

Woman shot and killed in apparent drive-by shooting in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — A woman was shot to death Sunday night in an apparent drive-by shooting, according to Clearwater police.Authorities said they received an initial call at 8:19 p.m. originating from 800 Belleair Road. The shooting is believed to have occu...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Wesley Chapel woman, 28, dies after crashing motorcycle

LUTZ — A 28-year-old motorcyclist died Sunday after she crashed near Lutz Lake Fern Road and Apian Way, Hillsborough deputies reported.Erica Kristen Rodriguez of Wesley Chapel was riding a Kawasaki motorcycle with a small group of motorcyclists eastb...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Woman, 24, hit by Land Rover, in critical condition

LARGO — A 24-year-old woman is in critical condition after she was struck by a vehicle Saturday night, police said.Khadijah Wood was walking through the parking lot of the Sandy Lane Apartment Homes on Belcher Road about 7:30 p.m.At the same time, Ju...
Published: 12/17/17
Murder suspect is on the run after fatally shooting a father, cops say

Murder suspect is on the run after fatally shooting a father, cops say

A first-degree murder suspect remains at large almost a week after the fatal shooting of a Winter Haven father.The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says Johnny Ray Owsley’s murder of 35-year-old Adam Thrower, called "Cook" by friends, involved Owsley’s e...
Published: 12/17/17

Two die in head-on crash on Gunn Highway in Odessa

ODESSA — Hillsborough County deputies are investigating a head-on crash on Gunn Highway that killed two and sent a child to the hospital Saturday afternoon.About 12: 45 p.m., Terry Lee Bronschidle, 70, of Tampa was driving his Chevy Traverse south on...
Published: 12/16/17
Firefighters injured after early-morning blaze at Tampa strip mall

Firefighters injured after early-morning blaze at Tampa strip mall

TAMPA — Three firefighters were injured early Saturday morning while battling a fire at a strip mall on W Waters Avenue, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.Firefighters said the blaze started around 2:45 p.m. in the attic of L.A. Nail Supply, located at ...
Published: 12/16/17
Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

LARGO — A Pinellas sheriff’s child protective investigator has been fired and could face criminal charges after an investigation found she made a child custody recommendation to a judge as a favor to a friend.Jayne Johnson, who has worked for the She...
Published: 12/15/17
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men who ran from deputies and shot a dog were captured after a brief pursuit Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.They ditched a stolen car, ran away on foot, crossed through several yards and then tr...
Published: 12/15/17

Tampa bicyclist, 52, dies after being rear-ended by vehicle; no charges

TAMPA — A 52-year-old man riding a bicycle was killed early Friday when he was struck from behind by a car in Seminole Heights, according to Tampa police.The incident took place at about 12:15 a.m. Wayne Kersh, 52, was riding his bicycle in the eastb...
Published: 12/15/17
After third fire at former Ybor City bathhouse, arrest is made

After third fire at former Ybor City bathhouse, arrest is made

TAMPA — A 46-year-old man was arrested Friday and accused of setting fire to a vacant Ybor City bathhouse hit by arson at least two other times earlier this year.Two Tampa police officers spotted smoke from the vacant building at 1512 E Eighth Ave. a...
Published: 12/15/17