Bayside Bridge (Pinellas County, Florida)
|Pinellas County Bayside Bridge|
|Carries||CR 611 (49th St North)|
|Crosses||Old Tampa Bay|
|Locale||Clearwater, FL to Largo, FL|
|Opened||June 2, 1993|
The Bayside Bridge is a cantilever bridge in Pinellas County which crosses over the northwestern-most end of Tampa Bay, connecting Clearwater, Florida and Largo, Florida. Construction began in the early 1990s and was completed in Summer of 1993, officially opening for traffic on June 2 of that year. Originally conceived in the 1970s as the 49th Street Bridge, a toll-levied part of the 12-mile (19 km) Pinellas Parkway, the current six-lane twin-span bridge provides direct, unmitigated access from eastern Clearwater to St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport by connecting McMullen Booth Road to 49th Street North and also serves as a bypass for heavily congested US 19. The speed limit is 55 mph (or about 88 km/h) until you reach McMullen Booth. It features a SPUI interchange at State Road 60 and a diamond interchange on the south end of the bridge. Along with the bridge, a $12 million interchange was built at the intersection of 49th Street and Roosevelt Boulevard. The bridge was completed before McMullen Booth Road was widened, dumping up to 36,000 cars a day onto the 2-lane road. On streets such as Marlo Road, drivers could wait as long as 15 minutes before being able to make a left turn.
In 1991, Pinellas County administrator Fred Marquis argued that the cost of the bridge could be funded by a 10-year extension of gasoline taxes. The plan went through as the "Penny for Pinellas" tax. This eliminated the need for a planned $2.5 million, 16-lane toll booth that would have been built on sensitive marshlands at the south end of the bridge. Cost of construction of the bridge is estimated at $71 million.
- 2006 Average Annual Daily Traffic Counts in Pinellas County (A.A.D.T.) (PDF) (Map). Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
- This tragic turn may not be averted St. Petersburg Times, Aug 25th, 1993
- Keep Tolls off the Bayside Bridge St. Petersburg Times, May 28, 1991
- County Road 296 Connection Project at Tampa Bay Interstates site