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Skyway bridge's repainting to wrap up by end of summer

Readers have inquired about the painting being done on the main span of the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

We touched base with the DOT and learned that the project is scheduled to be completed toward the end of the summer. The weather must cooperate, of course.

DOT spokeswoman Marian Scorza said we're seeing a complete re-painting of the yellow suspension cables. There has been some spot-painting of the cables here and there over the years, but this is the first full repainting in nearly 10 years.

We asked Scorza if work in some form or another isn't always under way on the 5.5-mile bridge.

She said that while the current project is the first aesthetic work done in a long time, maintenance workers routinely take care of everything from the surveillance cameras to the markings on the pavement, and a full top-to-bottom inspection of the structure is conducted every two years.

Car windows: How dark?

This is the time of year when tinted windows on vehicles seem like a must-have. Window tinting certainly helps keep the interior of a vehicle cooler.

But some vehicles on the road have such dark windows that it's impossible to see the driver. How dark are we legally permitted to tint vehicle windows? Reader Bruce Barber posed this question:

"Dear Doc: What is the current law regarding window tinting? I was told by a tint installer that the legal limit is a 35 percent light reduction on the front side windows. Is there still a law, and, if so, why is it not being enforced? It seems all I see now are extremely darkly tinted windows (and even windshields!) to the point that I cannot see the driver to know whether he/she is looking at me or even paying attention.

"I am also an avid cyclist and it is even more disconcerting when a car approaches at an intersection and you cannot see the driver to know whether or not he/she sees you."

Mr. Barber's window-tint installer informed him correctly. Florida law says it's illegal to tint vehicle windows to the point that they become "nontransparent or which would alter the window's color, increase its reflectivity, or reduce its light transmittance."

Then the law attempts to clarify "nontransparent."

Window tinting film on rear vehicle windows has to allow for "total solar reflectance of visible light of not more than 35 percent as measured on the nonfilm side and a light transmittance of at least 15 percent in the visible light range."

The Doc can't speak for law enforcement officers. But I know many agencies equip patrol officers with tint meters that, when placed against a tinted window, produce a reading of the tinting range. Vehicles are routinely stopped that appear to be sporting too-dark window tinting. Those that fail the meter test are subject to a traffic citation.

More Trop shuttle runs?

More free shuttle service to and from Tropicana Field may be added to the remainder of the scheduled Rays home games.

Check online for added dates at LooperTrolley.com .

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at docdelay@yahoo.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Check out Dr. Delay's Bay News 9 blog at www.baynews9.com/DrDelay.html to read more about commuting issues.

Skyway bridge's repainting to wrap up by end of summer 07/05/08 [Last modified: Saturday, July 5, 2008 10:21pm]
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