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 the 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 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 two-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. The 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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-12-15. 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