Bayside Bridge (Pinellas County, Florida)

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Pinellas County Bayside Bridge
BaysideBridge.jpg
Coordinates 27°56′47″N 82°42′19″W / 27.9463791°N 82.7053356°W / 27.9463791; -82.7053356Coordinates: 27°56′47″N 82°42′19″W / 27.9463791°N 82.7053356°W / 27.9463791; -82.7053356
Carries CR 611 (49th St North)
Crosses Old Tampa Bay
Locale Clearwater, FL to Largo, FL
History
Opened June 2, 1993
Statistics
Daily traffic 68,807[1]

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.[2]

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.[3] Cost of construction of the bridge is estimated at $71 million.

The plan is for the Bayside Bridge to connect to nearby Interstate 275 via the Gateway Express that will start construction sometime in early 2017.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 2006 Average Annual Daily Traffic Counts in Pinellas County (A.A.D.T.) (PDF) (Map). Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  2. ^ This tragic turn may not be averted St. Petersburg Times, Aug 25th, 1993
  3. ^ Keep Tolls off the Bayside Bridge St. Petersburg Times, May 28, 1991

External links[edit]