Thursday, April 26, 2018
Transportation

St. Petersburg to replace 40th Avenue Bridge; cones stay in the meantime

ST. PETERSBURG — Those traversing the 40th Avenue Bridge, the main span connecting Shore Acres and Venetian Isles with the Old Northeast and Northeast Park neighborhoods, can expect to see orange cones barricading the center of the bridge for the foreseeable future.

The bridge, closed in August for emergency repairs after inspectors found its steel infrastructure corroded, will need to be replaced, said Brejesh Prayman, director of Engineering and Capital Improvement Projects for the city. It could be years before construction begins on a new bridge due to federal and state regulations.

"There is no foot dragging," St. Petersburg Public Works Communication Manager Bill Logan said. "We’re doing as much as we possibly can."

The decision to close the bridge was made after city officials were conducting routine inspections before starting minor repairs to the bridge. The bridge had received regular biannual inspections from the Florida Department of Transportation and received sufficiency ratings over 70 percent in 2011, 2013 and 2015. FDOT had just completed an inspection before the city officials detected the corrosion, but had yet to release the report, Prayman said. FDOT was notified and confirmed the damage, he said. The FDOT reports are not public record due to a clause in state law that deems bridges as part of Homeland security.

The outer portions of the bridge, built in 1991, were constructed with more advanced technology, Prayman said, and are structurally sound and safe to drive on while the city determines a construction plan.

The city is working with FDOT to identify funding sources for construction, but will pay for beginning the process to select design consultants.

The bridge will be up for consideration to be added FDOT’s five-year fiscal plan in 2018. A project can be bumped up if it’s deemed critical, which shorter term repairs could push back.

"It’s almost a Catch 22," Logan said.

Some constituents, however, are hopeful that the new bridge could improve old grievances with the bridge.

Kai Cox, a Shore Acres resident who created a petition to raise the height of the bridge that received almost 1,200 signatures, said more people have expressed support for the cause after hearing the bridge will be replaced.

"At the time (the old bridge was constructed), boats were smaller," Cox said. "If that happens the new bridge will have additional damage to it. So why do that to the bridge? ... It’s a great opportunity to build a bridge for the modern standards."

Prayman said increasing the height is a consideration, but several factors have to be taken into account in the design, including what the maximum vertical curve may be.

And increasing the height, public works administrator Claude Tankersley said, could land the city in eminent domain issues — extending the bridge right in front of or possibly into houses currently adjacent to the bridge.

"Raising the bridge has consequences," he said. "We have to consider those consequences. ... There are residences at the foot of the bridge. In order to raise the bridge, somebody might have to lose their home. So we have to take that into consideration and be fair to those people."

The deadline for design consultants to apply is Dec. 14, and the city is expected to make a selection by January.

"It’s a good-sized bridge, so you’ll get medium to large size firms," Prayman said. "I’d imagine a lot would like to have this bridge on their resume."

Contact Divya Kumar at [email protected] Follow @divyadivyadivya.

Comments
Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Those who use mass transit across the Tampa Bay area can ride for free on Sunday.To celebrate Earth Day, both the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will be offering free rides on Su...
Published: 04/19/18
She calmly landed the Southwest flight and broke barriers as a fighter pilot

She calmly landed the Southwest flight and broke barriers as a fighter pilot

The pilot’s voice was calm yet focused as her plane descended with 149 people on board."Southwest 1380, we’re single engine," Tammie Jo Shults, a former fighter pilot with the U.S. Navy, said. "We have part of the aircraft missing so we’re going to n...
Published: 04/18/18
Carlton: Thanks, Gov. Scott, for the dreaded trip across Interstate 4

Carlton: Thanks, Gov. Scott, for the dreaded trip across Interstate 4

The other day I had to go to Orlando from Tampa on Interstate 4, which has to be one of the most disliked highways in Florida. And I say this as someone who learned to drive on Miami’s I-95.It turned out to be the same root canal of a trip we’ve come...
Published: 04/18/18
NTSB: Blown Southwest jet engine showed ‘metal fatigue’

NTSB: Blown Southwest jet engine showed ‘metal fatigue’

PHILADELPHIA — A preliminary examination of the blown jet engine of the Southwest Airlines plane that set off a terrifying chain of events and left a businesswoman hanging half outside a shattered window showed evidence of "metal fatigue," according ...
Published: 04/18/18
Group promoting road safety out in force on 56th Street Monday

Group promoting road safety out in force on 56th Street Monday

TEMPLE TERRACE — If all goes as planned on Monday (April 23), at least 100 people will line the sides of one of the most dangerous stretches in Hillsborough County — 56th Street between Sligh Avenue and Busch Boulevard — in an effort to get motorists...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Big dig’s big cost: Pasco tunnel idea carries $550 million price tag

Big dig’s big cost: Pasco tunnel idea carries $550 million price tag

NEW PORT RICHEY — Construction costs to tunnel under U.S. 41 in central Pasco could top a half-billion dollars, four times the projected price of building elevated lanes above the highway’s intersection with State Road 54.The cost estimate, said Comm...
Published: 04/17/18
Dr. Delay: How to find out if you qualify for a speed hump; updates on the Pinellas Bayway

Dr. Delay: How to find out if you qualify for a speed hump; updates on the Pinellas Bayway

I live in St. Pete and would like to know how I could go about getting a speed hump installed on my street. Where do I start?Manuel Reyes, St. PetersburgThe place to start would be by contacting the St. Petersburg Neighborhood Transportation Manager,...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
He got fed up with Miami traffic, so now he commutes with dolphins and pelicans

He got fed up with Miami traffic, so now he commutes with dolphins and pelicans

Parker Lake got sick of the rat race. Sick of working in a cubicle. Sick of commuting on Miami’s mean streets. Sick of being overweight from sitting at a desk or in traffic jams.So Lake quit his unfulfilling job, sold his car and moved to a house on ...
Updated one month ago
A sixth person killed by the high-speed Brightline train in Florida

A sixth person killed by the high-speed Brightline train in Florida

The Brightline train fatally struck a man Sunday, bringing the total killed by the train to six people since it began test runs last year.The Delray Beach Police Department announced on Twitter that a pedestrian was hit Sunday by a northbound Brightl...
Updated one month ago
Dr. Delay: Will the lights at 87th Avenue N and Fourth Street cause extra congestion?

Dr. Delay: Will the lights at 87th Avenue N and Fourth Street cause extra congestion?

Massive new street signals were erected at the intersection of 87th Avenue N. and Fourth Street, just four blocks north from the light-controlled intersection at 83rd Avenue N. At the same time a new WaWa store/gas station is being constructed near 8...
Updated one month ago