The Florida Department of Transportation demolished part of the 60-year-old Pinellas Bayway Bridge, connecting Isla Del Sol and Tierra Verde islands, as part of a $56.8 million project to replace the existing bridge.
FDOT District Seven is replacing the existing two-lane, low-level draw bridge with a two-lane, high-level fixed bridge, as well as repaving the existing State Road 679 roadway between State Road 682 and the new bridge, and replacing a seawall south of the bridge along State Road 679 in southern Pinellas County. The project will also include the construction of a 12-foot-wide shared-use path on the east side and a five-foot-wide concrete sidewalk on the west side of State Road 679. Other improvements include the addition of a roundabout at Madonna Boulevard and 1st Street. The entire project is expected to wrap up in the fall of 2021.
On Tuesday, FDOT and the contractor on the project, American Bridge Co., demolished the underwater structure on the old bridge.
The project is designed to mitigate heavy vehicle congestion that occurs as people travel to and from Fort DeSoto State Park on State Road 679. Fort DeSoto State Park attract large numbers of visitors, because its beaches have been recognized as some of the best beaches in the United States, and the heavy traffic has been slowed by the existing bridge, which connects the Isla De Sol and Tierra Verde islands, and opens two times per hour throughout the day.
The new bridge will provide improved traffic patterns and pedestrian access, FDOT said.