The Saint Petersburg Times, a fantastic newspaper, featured the controversial construction of the fixed bridge on the Pinellas Bayway in this morning’s paper. Known to sailors as “Structure C”, the plan to replace the drawbridge that links the mainland to St Pete Beach has been in works for years.
How does this affect sailors? “Structure C” is the main route to Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico from Boca Ciega Bay and its waterfront neighborhoods such as Broadwater and the city of Gulfport. Right now, the bridge opens on demand on the hour, :20 and :40 after during normal daytime boating hours. As long as a sailboat’s mast is standard intracoastal height, or 65′ or less, the sailboat should be able to pass clear underneath unless the tide is exceptionally high. Most of the bridges have clearance markers that display the actual clearance before venturing under.
How does this affect drivers? Fewer delays due to drawbridge openings. This can be a big factor on the weekends, with lots of boaters on the water and lots of folks heading to the beach.
How does this affect bicyclists? If you’ve ever biked on this portion of the Bayway, you should be relieved. Crossing any drawbridge in this area is a harrowing experience, but this section of road includes about 1/4 mile of raised causeway with no shoulder and no passing lane. This is where I tend to pedal at my fastest speed to avoid being hit or bullied by drivers trying to get by. The proposed fixed bridge appears to have nice bike lanes in both directions – woo hoo!
Here’s a link to the full St Petersburg Times article: http://license.icopyright.net/user/viewFreeUse.act?fuid=MTM2NzgyNDA=