12 November, 2007

Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge, FL Postcard

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge, spanning Florida's Tampa Bay, is the world's longest bridge with a cable-stayed main span, with a length of 29,040 feet (exactly 5.5 miles or approximately 8.85 km). Construction of the current bridge began in 1982, and the completed bridge was dedicated on February 7, 1987. The new bridge cost $244 million to build, and was opened to traffic on April 20, 1987. In November 2005, an act of Florida Legislature officially named the current bridge the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge, after the Governor of Florida who presided over its design and most of its construction.

Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge Postcard
(PH Wish from Linda Jenkins)

The bridge is constructed of steel and concrete. Twenty-one steel cables clad in nine-inch steel tubes along the center line of the bridge support the structure. It was designed by the Figg & Muller Engineering Group, and built by the American Bridge Company.

The present bridge replaces a steel cantilever bridge. The original two-lane bridge was completed in 1954, with a similar structure built parallel to it in 1969 to make it a four-lane bridge and bring it to Interstate standards. The remaining approaches to the old cantilever bridge remain in use as Skyway Fishing Pier State Park.

Design: Continuous pre-stressed concrete cable-stayed bridge
Longest span: 365.8 meters (1200 feet)
Total length: 8851.392 meters (5.5 miles)

Width: 28.7 meters (94 feet)

Vertical clearance: 58.8 meters (193 feet)

Clearance below: 53.3 meters (175 feet)

The southbound span of the original bridge (the one built in 1969) was destroyed on May 9, 1980, when the freighter MV Summit Venture collided with a pier (support column) during a storm, sending over 1200 feet (366m) of the bridge plummeting into Tampa Bay. The collision caused six automobiles and a Greyhound bus to fall 150 feet (46 m), killing 35 people.

In 1990 the Florida Department of Transportation awarded the winning bid to the Hardaway Company to demolish all steel and concrete sections of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The scope of the project required that all underwater piles and piers, and surface roadway, girders, and beams be dismantled.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge Wikipedia Entry

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