Boca Grande Causeway
|Boca Grande Causeway|
Boca Grande Swing Bridge open for vessel traffic
|Carries||CR 771 (Gasparilla Road)|
|Locale||Charlotte County, Florida|
|Official name||Boca Grande Causeway|
|Maintained by||Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority|
|Design||1 steel swing bridge & 2 concrete girder bridges|
|Total length||2.5 Miles|
|Clearance below||22 feet (north swing bridge)
25 feet (center bridge)
16 feet (south bridge)
|Opened||1958 (original causeway & bridges)
2013-2015 (current bridges)
|Toll||$6 (island-bound traffic only)|
The Boca Grande Causeway is a causeway located in Charlotte County, Florida connecting the community of Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island with the mainland near Placida. The 2.5 mile causeway crosses Gasparilla Sound and consists of three bridges, and is the only vehicular access to the island.
The Boca Grande Causeway originally opened in 1958 after six years of construction, replacing a vehicle ferry service. The causeway and its original bridges were built parallel to the now abandoned Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railway. Passenger rail service to the island was discontinued by the railroad shortly after the causeway opened. While the railroad was abandoned in 1981, the adjacent trestles remain mostly intact today and are visible from the causeway.
The Causeway was privately built, but was sold to the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority, a government agency created to oversee operation of the causeway, in 1998. The northernmost bridge (connecting to the mainland) includes a 213 ft swing span over the navigation channel. The swing bridge, which is one of a few remaining swing bridges in Florida, is 13 feet tall at its highest point. The center and south bridges are fixed span bridges, and are 12 feet and 25 feet tall respectively.
The current center and south bridges were completed in 2013. The current swing bridge was completed and opened to traffic in late 2015. The original bridges were replaced due to their age and functional obsolescence. The current bridges are taller and also include shoulders for bicycle traffic allowing improved access for bicyclists using the popular Boca Grande Bike Path better access to the mainland and to the Cape Haze Pioneer Trail.
- Turner, Gregg M. (December 1, 1999). Railroads of Southwest Florida. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing.
- About Us (Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority) Archived October 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- Bridge Info (Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority) Archived October 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- O'Connor, Terry (January 22, 2013). "South Bridge opens on ‘historic Boca Grande day’". Gasparilla Gazette.
- GIBA Construction Progress Update: New Center & South Bridges August 23, 2013 #63[permanent dead link]
- Strout, Liza (March 30, 2012). "GIBA board discusses causeway bike safety plans". Boca Beacon. Archived from the original on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.