Article by: Staff

For the full story visit: Tampa Bay Reporter

ST. PETERSBURG – A new bridge connecting the Northeast Park and Shore Acres neighborhoods is in the works.

The new span over Smacks Bayou would replace the existing 40th Avenue Bridge, which was closed for a period of time in August, and has been re-configured with reduced two-way traffic ever since.

St. Petersburg is moving forward with the selection of an engineering firm to develop a basis of design to determine the overall requirements for this bridge, public works officials said. This is the initial part of the process — which will include public input and collaboration – to determine the scope and requirements of the project.

“Public safety and fiscal responsibility for our residents is why we are seeking a more permanent solution,” Director of Engineering and Capital Improvements Brejesh Prayman said.

Based on current information and latest inspections of the structure, which was built in 1960 and widened in 199), it is clear that repairs to the span to bring it to full capacity would still ultimately require additional funding in the near future for other major maintenance items without a substantial increase in service life. The bridge – with its current modification of traffic pattern – will be in operation until the replacement is completed.

The funding for this work is provided primarily by the “Penny for Pinellas” 1-cent sales tax – should voters choose to approve it Nov. 7 – as a long-term capital infrastructure project. The city is currently working with the Florida Department of Transportation for help in funding. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, with support from state Sen. Jeff Brandes and Rep.Ben Diamond, are seeking additional funding from the Legislature.

For information about St. Pete, go to stpete.org.