Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Davis Islands, Harbour Island residents decry plan for Platt Street Bridge project

The $13.8 million Platt Street Bridge repairs project is expected to get started in October. People who depend on the bridge worry about the traffic diversion plans for the duration of the work.


The $13.8 million Platt Street Bridge repairs project is expected to get started in October. People who depend on the bridge worry about the traffic diversion plans for the duration of the work.

The plan to close the dilapidated Platt Street Bridge for much-needed repairs has been on the table for months now, county officials say.

But time hasn't eased the frustration residents of Davis Islands and Harbour Island feel over the project that will eliminate a major link to and from downtown for 105 days, some time in early October.

They say the city hasn't provided enough options for diverting traffic away from the bridge, contending that the closing will create a near-constant gridlock in and around the Platt Street area.

"Hopefully this (traffic plan) is a work in progress," Davis Islands resident Joe Fontana said at an open house this week hosted by County Commissioner Sandy Murman. "But this is the same as nine months ago. That's extremely inefficient."

One resident said the traffic plan made her feel "claustrophobic," while others expressed concerns about access for emergency vehicles in the area. They're also worried that cars leaving from Tampa General Hospital on Davis Islands and St. John's Episcopal Church School in Hyde Park — which send employees and students home around the same time — will further clog the area.

City transportation officials say the plan is a tentative one and are still looking for suggestions from residents as the project draws closer to its start date.

City transportation manager Jean Dorzback said while the traffic situation in and around Platt Street isn't ideal, the city will "deal with it as best as we can."

In part, the current plan will divert neighborhood traffic crossing the Hillsborough River onto Kennedy Boulevard and Franklin Street. Other alternatives will detour drivers onto Verne Street and Plant Avenue, which will soon allow three lanes of traffic through.

Commuters will be encouraged to take the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway across town to avoid Bayshore Boulevard. The Tampa Police Department will station officers at key intersections to direct traffic during the first few days of the bridge closure, and the city plans to post 30 electronic message boards around the area to warn drivers.

The county, which owns the bridge and is overseeing the $13.8 million project, is offering monetary incentives to its contractors to finish the job on time — $10,000 per day if the bridge is completed up to 20 days in advance and $10,000 penalties for every day past the 105-day completion window. The project is part of ongoing repairs to the bridge that began in January and have caused lane closures along the way.

But no matter what, officials say, residents will have to deal with occasionally frustrating traffic.

"The first few days are going to be awful," said Martin Stone, the planning director of the state Expressway Authority. He was at Monday's open house, handing out free SunPasses to help residents prepare for the months to come.

Despite all their planning, officials say they still expect some confusion in October.

"We've been promoting this for months now," said Shannon Edge, the head of the city's neighborhood and community relations office. "People aren't going to realize it's actually closed until the day of."

Aubrey Whelan can be reached at (813) 226-3446 or

Davis Islands, Harbour Island residents decry plan for Platt Street Bridge project 08/25/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 26, 2011 5:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest


    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]
  2. Mueller casts broad net in requesting extensive records from Trump White House


    WASHINGTON — The special counsel investigating Russian election meddling has requested extensive records and email correspondence from the White House, covering the president's private discussions about firing his FBI director and his response to news that the then-national security adviser was under …

    In a photograph provided by the Russian foreign ministry, President Donald Trump meets with Sergei Lavrov, left, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, May 10, 2017. Special counsel Robert Mueller is interested in this meeting, where Trump said dismissing FBI Director James Comey had relieved "great pressure" on him, the New York Times reported on Sept. 20. [Russian Foreign Ministry via  New York Times]
  3. 'We will find our island destroyed': Hurricane Maria demolishes Puerto Rico


    SAN JUAN — Sleepless Puerto Ricans awoke Wednesday knowing to expect a thrashing from the most ferocious storm to strike the island in at least 85 years. They met nightfall confronting the ruin Hurricane Maria left behind: engorged rivers, blown-out windows, sheared roofs, toppled trees and an obliterated electric …

    Rescue vehicles from the Emergency Management Agency stand trapped under an awning during the impact of Hurricane Maria, after the storm  hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Maria has lost its major hurricane status, after raking Puerto Rico. But forecasters say some strengthening is in the forecast and Maria could again become a major hurricane by Thursday. [Carlos Giusti | Associated Press]
  4. Obamacare repeal bill offers flexibility and uncertainty


    The latest Republican proposal to undo the Affordable Care Act would grant states much greater flexibility and all but guarantee much greater uncertainty for tens of millions of people.

  5. Manafort offered to give Russian billionaire 'private briefings' on 2016 campaign, report says


    Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, the Washington Post reports.

    Paul Manafort, then Donald Trump's campaign chairman, talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. [Associated Press]