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Pinellas Bayway face-lift will avoid traffic snarls

The Pinellas Bayway Bridge connecting Tierra Verde and St. Petersburg is about to get a $1.1 million face-lift, with work scheduled to begin this month and last until sometime in the fall.

The Florida Department of Transportation has contracted with Coastal Marine Construction to do the work, most of which will be under the bridge repairing columns. Other repairs and improvements will be made to the sidewalks and the bridge deck. Some of the steel portions of the bridge (including the drawbridge) will be repainted.

Kris Carson of the DOT says most of the work on the underside will be performed during the day. Some lane closures will be required, and those will take place between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Carson also said that while cleaning and painting the center of the drawbridge is under way, the bridge may be closed in 15-minute increments between midnight and 5 a.m. At all times, Carson said, the bridge will be accessible to emergency vehicles.

Road spills

Law: Material that can harm must be picked up

Reader Mike Mullican recently contacted us to ask about Florida law regarding paint spilled on road. He wanted to know how to get an ordinance adopted to fine people who spill paint on the road then fail to clean it up. Damage to vehicles that drive through the paint should be covered by spillers, he said.

Mullican pointed out several locations around the county, including a large yellow paint spill on southbound Missouri Avenue across from Largo High School.

Florida Statute 316.2044, "Removal of injurious substances," addresses such incidents by spelling out that anyone dropping anything on streets or highways that has the potential to cause damage is responsible for removing it. Failure to do so is a nonmoving violation. But the reality is that enforcement is nearly impossible without eyewitnesses.

The Doc has seen plenty of paint and other materials on roads but has never witnessed it as it happened. How about you, readers? Have you seen vehicles spilling material and if so, have you reported it?

Parking lot crashes

Watch out at the mall! Crash suits increasing

Lawsuits resulting from mall parking lot accidents are on the uptick in Florida. This is good news for personal injury attorneys but not so much for conscientious drivers who venture into the parking areas at their peril. And if you do get hit by a motorist who treats parking lots like drag strips, they might be uninsured.

Parking lots attached to major shopping areas in the bay area seem to be hotbeds of lawlessness where, more often than not, so many drivers seem to think it's okay to ignore posted speed limits and traffic signs. We're not alone; Lee County reported that in the last quarter of 2008, 129 vehicle crashes were reported in the parking lots of five Fort Myers shopping malls. I feel more anxiety traversing the parking lot at Tyrone Square Mall than I do navigating "Malfunction Junction," and that's saying something.

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Check out Dr. Delay's Bay News 9 blog at to read more about commuting issues.

Pinellas Bayway face-lift will avoid traffic snarls 02/21/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 21, 2009 3:30am]
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