What's the latest on the John's Pass Bridge replacement? Reader Bill Reid of St. Pete Beach wrote the Doc inquiring about progress on the new west span of the bridge and when it might be ready for traffic. Reid wrote:
"It has been quite some time since I have seen an estimated time of completion. Seems like I remember originally it was going to be around July 2008. That doesn't seem possible at this point."
We passed Reid's question on to Kris Carson of the Department of Transportation, who said work is on schedule to allow for the opening of the new west span this summer or early in the fall, weather permitting.
But just one lane in each direction will be open to traffic, Carson said. "This is so the contractor will have more room to work, especially at the approaches to the bridge."
The replacement bridge will be about 8 feet higher than the old one, so it probably will not need to be opened for boats as often, which should limit stops for traffic on the bridge, Carson said.
Belleair Beach bridge
Speaking of bridges, here's a progress report on the Belleair Beach Causeway project: Construction reached another milestone last week with the completion of the final concrete pier. The 30 piers were built on floating barges, which has been a unique challenge, county reps say.
Some other numbers of note: The 30 piers are composed of 13,424 tons of concrete and 679 tons of reinforcing steel. The tallest is 73 feet; the shortest, 12.7 feet.
The $72.2-million project, which began in March 2007, remains on budget and on schedule to be completed in 2010.
Those horrid holes
Some folks contacted the Doc last week wondering about sudden lane closures on northbound Seminole Boulevard. Reps from Pinellas County Utilities say the lanes were closed near Village Green Avenue because of a sinkhole developing next to a manhole cover. Work to nip the sinkhole in the bud began Tuesday and should be completed early this week.
While we're on the topic of sinkholes, it's a good idea to keep an eye out for developing holes in the road now that the rainy season has arrived. Avoid driving over the holes, which can be deceptively deep and quite hazardous to vehicles. Report any sinkholes you may spot to the folks at the county: 464-8900.
Until next week, happy and safe motoring!
Heads-up on headaches Some projects this week
• 131st Street N (Walsingham Road to 102nd Avenue N): delays caused by shoulder repairs
• 134th Avenue N (between 121st and 125th streets N): delays because of sidewalk repairs
• 55th Street N (between 46th and 54th avenues N): detours caused by drainage work
• 114th Avenue N and 131st Street N: lane closures and delays because of drainage improvements
• Sunset Drive (Dorothy Lane to Hamlin Boulevard): drainage improvements cause lane closures
• Bayside Bridge: road sweeping Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning
• Bayside Bridge on-ramp: lane closure and delays because of bridge maintenance
• Belleair Road (Keene Road to U.S. 19): delays and lane closures as sidewalks are repaired
• 54th Avenue N east of 49th Street N: Watch for workers replacing sidewalks
• Park Street (Tyrone Boulevard to Ninth Avenue N): lane closures and delays because of sidewalk repairs
• South of Gandy Boulevard, east of San Martin Boulevard: Be aware of workers cleaning ditches