The original Memorial Causeway Bridge was a two-lane flat span that opened in the 1920s. It connected downtown Clearwater and Clearwater Beach for nearly thirty-plus years until it was replaced by a bascule bridge in the 1950s. A portion of the original bridge was demolished with the remaining section kept open as a fishing pier.
Even though the bascule bridge served the needs of Clearwater through its entire lifespan, it became clear in the mid-1990s that a replacement span would be needed. Increasing boat traffic would raise the bridge numerous times throughout any given day, which proved to be especially dangerous when a line of westbound traffic exceeded the bridge approach and extended across the Pierce St. intersection. Many alternatives and designs were considered during the planning process, including concepts that ranged from a higher drawbridge to a miniature Sunshine Skyway-type bridge. The final design was chosen in 1998 and construction commenced in 2001. The bridge opened to traffic in August 2005.