1. Archive

Bridge is beautiful, but its approach no treat for seat

The approach to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is indeed a breathtaking spectacle. It's an undeniable treat for the eyes and a glorious, sweeping reminder of what is great about living here. It's no wonder that car manufacturers like Volvo film their commercials on the bridge.

But if they could speak, the suspensions of our cars may not express such affection for the approach to the bridge's roadway itself, which batters vehicles and seems to worsen daily.

Reader Doug Barnette recently wrote to me to and asked what gives with the abominable condition of the Dick Misener Bridge, which is the approach to the Skyway's main span. Here is part of Barnette's note:

"The approaches are getting worse with no foreseeable fix in the works. According to the state, it will cost a lot of money to correct and they seem to be aware of the problem but, don't anticipate a fix. My question to you and them is: Will it ever be fixed?"

I passed Barnette's question along to Kris Carson of the Florida Department of Transportation, and Carson said plans have been under way to address the problems on the Misener Bridge.

"Our construction and bridge staff were reviewing the situation to see what could be done to alleviate the "dip.' We have completed the review of survey data and feel that the best solution is to mill and overlay both the approach slab and roadway approach to fill in the physical dip. We (the DOT) are getting ready to solicit services from one of our maintenance contractors to resolve the problem to improve the ride. I do not have a date when the repair work will start, but please rest assured that we will repair the area."

Police priorities?

I'm still receiving mail from Carillon office workers incensed about the lack of assistance from law enforcement in facilitating traffic flow during the recent freakish rainstorm and subsequent flooding of the office park roadways and exits.

One reader wrote: "I sat for 45 minutes to exit out onto Ulmerton Road that Friday. As another reader pointed out, the traffic light is really short, and with the number of people wanting to leave, it was all but impossible. This was a special situation that really called for a little thinking on the part of the police. They will stop traffic to let church parking lots empty, stop traffic to let a politician's motorcade clear an intersection and even block two lanes of a three lane road after a small accident, but they couldn't help traffic clear out of one of the county's biggest office complexes."

Where's St. Petersburg?

I don't know about the rest of you, but I think St. Petersburg needs a little more heralding than we get right now in the way of highway signage, specifically on Interstate 75.

Reader Linda Blitz is on the same wavelength. She wrote: "Every time I travel north on I-75 to St. Petersburg I am bothered by the official highway signage. Sarasota has numerous signs (next 4 exits Sarasota) Bradenton has signs (next 2 exits Bradenton) but once you get on I-275, there are NO SIGNS that indicate one is headed to St. Petersburg or in St. Petersburg, not one. St. Pete Beach has a directional, The Pier, Tropicana Field, Tampa the beaches, etc. A person could drive from the Sunshine Skyway north to the Howard (Frankland) and never know that they were passing St. Petersburg. This doesn't make sense. I called the Mayor's Hot Line and they said that it was a DOT issue. Can you fix this?"

Were that I could fix this. I shared Blitz's question with Kris Carson and she said that there is a sign marking the limits of the City of St. Petersburg on I-275 northbound approximately 3/4-mile to the north of the North Skyway Rest Area. Carson even helpfully e-mailed a photo of the sign. It sure is tiny.

87th Avenue work coming

Look out for some repair work tentatively scheduled to begin the week of Feb. 27 on 87th Avenue N between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street and Seventh Street. Workers will be replacing water mains and pipes and the construction project will last approximately four weeks.

Stacie Lehmann of the Water Resources Department said that there will be short-term closure of Seventh and Eighth Streets in the vicinity of 87th Avenue due to this construction.

The city of St. Petersburg maintains a listing of all utility construction projects online at

default.asp?page=1507 that includes dates of upcoming projects and other pertinent details.

Is it just me?

Is the pothole that opened up several months ago on Central Avenue just west of 66th Street growing deeper and wider by the day?

Just wondering.

Roundabout feedback

I asked and boy, oh boy, did I receive.

Readers certainly do have strong opinions about roundabouts/rotaries/traffic circles - and some had some not so flowery names for them. I will share some of those with you next week.

Until next week, happy and safe motoring!

Please share your traffic concerns, comments and questions with Dr. Delay via e-mail at