Saturday, September 22, 2018
Transportation

Northbound Sunshine Skyway lanes to close for running event in March

ST. PETERSBURG — The Sunshine Skyway bridge will shut down on a Sunday morning in March for a running race that is expected to draw up to 7,000 participants.

The Armed Forces Families Foundation announced the event, dubbed the "Skyway 10k Saluting Military Families," at a news conference on Wednesday.

RELATED:More sports news

The northbound lanes will close at 4 a.m. on March 4. The race will start at sunrise at the rest stop on the Manatee County side, and the bridge should re-open at 10 a.m.

"The Skyway is one of a kind," said James Judge, an event spokesman. "And undoubtedly, it will become an iconic race. Hopefully, a race that will happen for years to come."

About 4,000 vehicles use the northbound lanes of the bridge during those hours on a typical Sunday in March, said Kris Carson, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Transportation, which has signed off on the event.

FHP spokesman Sgt. Steve Gaskins said he understands the inconvenience of closing down part of Interstate 275, which for some drivers could mean detouring about 40 additional miles through Tampa to get to downtown St. Petersburg.

"We don’t do it lightly," he said Wednesday. "We will try to get that bridge open as soon as we can."

Shortly before the new bridge opened to traffic in 1987, runners crossed it in a dedication race. Pedestrians, however, are not normally allowed on the four-lane bridge, which does not have any sidewalks.

Judge said the group has agreed to re-imburse the state for all lost tolls, which will be about $5,500, according to FDOT. He hoped that drivers would be understanding as they try to raise $500,000 for military families.

"This is a wonderful event that the whole community is going to appreciate," he said. "Who can’t agree with supporting armed forces and their families?"

On race day, runners will gather at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Buses will take them south across the bridge before they run north back to the rest area on the Pinellas County side of the bridge.

With a 4-percent grade, reaching 197 feet high, the road will pose a challenge for participants, said Dick Crippen, an advisor for the Tampa Bay Rays, a partner in the event.

"I think it’s going to be a tough race," said Crippen, before adding that the views will make up for it.

St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin said the event both serves as good exercise and supports a worthy cause.

"We hope that everyone within the sound of our voice makes it a point to be a part of this great race and help our families that do so much to help and serve our country," she said at the news conference.

"People will come from far and wide to be a part of history and to see the breathtaking views from atop the Skyway," Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker said in a news release. "Best of all, the proceeds will go to benefit local veterans and their families."

Hillsborough’s administrator, Mike Merrill, said runners will get "a rare opportunity" to enjoy the bridge up close and on foot.

The event is scheduled to go on rain or shine, Judge said. Participants and runners can register for $75 at skyway10k.com.

Contact Langston Taylor at [email protected] Follow @langstonitaylor.

 
Comments
Could Trump starve a Tampa Bay transit project of federal funds?

Could Trump starve a Tampa Bay transit project of federal funds?

ST. PETERSBURG — The Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit line has succeeded where other Tampa Bay transit projects have failed. The project aimed at connecting downtown to the beaches has avoided anti-transit sentiment while securing money and support f...
Published: 09/21/18
Local hospital groups back transportation sales tax plan with $175,000 in donations

Local hospital groups back transportation sales tax plan with $175,000 in donations

TAMPA — Two local hospital groups have donated a combined $175,000 to the group campaigning for a sales tax hike to pay for transportation improvements. They say the ballot measure will increase access to medical care and provide transportation optio...
Published: 09/14/18
Hillsborough MPO holds Southshore transit meeting

Hillsborough MPO holds Southshore transit meeting

Hillsborough MPO will hold an open house from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursday (Sept. 13) at the SouthShore Regional Library, 15816 Beth Shields Way in Ruskin. The open house will cover the SouthShore Transit Study reevaluation.All residents who want better t...
Published: 09/06/18
Updated: 09/10/18

Pasco road planners push path beneath U.S. 19 bridge for pedestrian safety

PORT RICHEY — More than a decade after the city of Port Richey studied the idea of building a pedestrian path beneath U.S. 19 at the Pithlachascotee River bridge, county transportation leaders are poised to do likewise.Later this month, the Pasco Met...
Updated one month ago
State: BRT could get its own lane on new Howard Frankland Bridge

State: BRT could get its own lane on new Howard Frankland Bridge

The Florida Department of Transportation says it has a back-up plan to create a dedicated lane for bus rapid transit on the new Howard Frankland Bridge in case the current plan for BRT doesn’t work out.A draft request for proposals to design and buil...
Updated one month ago
Serious upgrade, from golf carts to Teslas, for riders of free downtown shuttle

Serious upgrade, from golf carts to Teslas, for riders of free downtown shuttle

TAMPA — Many people who ride the free, app-based shuttle known as the Downtowner are getting a shock this month when their driver pulls up.Since it launched two years ago, the service has relied on a fleet of GEM electric vehicles that look like elon...
Updated one month ago
Part of Selmon Expressway shut down until Monday morning

Part of Selmon Expressway shut down until Monday morning

Due to construction activities, crews have temporarily shut down the Selmon Expressway westbound at Gandy Boulevard with the anticipation that it will reopen before Monday’s morning rush hour traffic.In the meantime, travelers can use the detour at E...
Updated one month ago