The new Sunshine Skyway Bridge's construction began in 1982. Over 300 precast concrete components were delivered to the site and swiftly connected with cables fastened to huge towers. Twenty-one steel cables stretch from the towers in each direction, bearing the weight of the concrete slabs. The cables are anchored in rock deep below sea level.
The first section of the new bridge opened on 15 August 1983. It was a single lane, carrying traffic across the Straits of Florida between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. A year later, the second section opened, extending the deck across the remainder of the channel and providing four lanes of car traffic for the first time. This section also has a sidewalk along its entire length for pedestrians and cyclists.
The third section opened in 1990, this time for vehicles traveling between Tampa and Sarasota. Once again, it was a single lane, but now it carries six traffic lanes and provides space for two more lanes if needed. This section also has a sidewalk along its entire length for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The fourth and final section opened in 1997, connecting the mainland with Manatee County. Like the other sections, it has four traffic lanes and provides space for two more lanes if needed.
In total, three bridges connect the mainland with Broward and Miami-Dade Counties.
The new Sunshine Skyway's construction began in 1982, and the finished bridge was dedicated on February 7, 1987. The new six-lane bridge cost $244 million to construct and was completed on April 20, 1987. It is named for its proximity to the anniversary of the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The original Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which opened in 1957, collapsed on August 15, 1983, killing 43 people. The cause was determined to be overloading due to the high volume of traffic using the bridge.
In addition to its role as a transportation link, the new Sunshine Skyway Bridge serves as a memorial to the victims of the previous collapse.
For more information about this topic, see the article "The New Sunshine Skyway Bridge" by John Kingenheimer on this website. This article was first published in 1997 and updated in 2007.
Bridge across the Sunshine Skyway
|Sunshine Skyway Bridge (former)|
|Construction start||1950 (original bridge, later converted to northbound only traffic) 1967 (southbound span)|
|Construction end||1954 (northbound span) 1971 (southbound span)|
|Opened||September 6, 1954 (original bridge)|
|Inaugurated||September 6, 1954|
Design of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge The designers began by elevating the bridge by 50%, bringing it 190 feet above the ocean so that ships could pass beneath securely. They then decided to build another bridge, identical to the first, over 400 feet away. This second bridge would serve as a refuge in case something went wrong with the first bridge.
This "double bridge" design was chosen over other alternatives such as a single bridge with a drawbridge mechanism because it offered better protection for drivers using the route below. If the first bridge had failed, traffic would have been forced onto the second bridge, where it would have been safe from large ships passing underneath.
The double bridge design also allowed for the construction of two separate roadways on each side of the river, which proved useful when the bridge became popular with motorcyclists and pedestrians.
Sunshine Skyway Bridge Design Details The main span of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is 605 feet long and rises 189 feet above the water. It is made of reinforced concrete and has 30 lanes of traffic traveling at 40 miles per hour, giving it a capacity of 2,400 vehicles per hour. The approach spans are also 605 feet long and rise 112 feet above the water.
Bridge across the Sunshine Skyway Lukas Grimm's work. The 4-mile-long Sunshine Skyway Bridge opened on September 6, 1954, transporting two lanes of I-275/US 19 traffic across Tampa Bay between Bradenton and St. Petersburg in west central Florida. It cost $22 million and featured a 150-foot height clearance. The bridge was named after its principal donor, Tampa beer brewer Edward DeBartolo Jr.
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is now considered one of the most expensive highways in American history. It was originally planned to be a toll road, but this idea was dropped when it became apparent that there were not enough drivers willing to forgo their free passes. The state of Florida eventually took responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the bridge.
In October 1973, just over a year after it opened, the first section of the bridge collapsed, killing 41 people. The official cause was determined to be excessive weight loading due to high water temperatures resulting in structural damage from stress. After the initial collapse, workers quickly repaired the damaged portion of the bridge and it reopened the next month on November 1st. This incident helped raise awareness of the need for caution around bridges during hurricane seasons.
In January 2005, another part of the bridge collapsed, this time causing six miles of highway to be closed in both directions. No one was injured in this incident.
Bridge across the Sunshine Skyway The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a 6.7km (4.14 mile) bridge that spans Tampa Bay in Florida, USA. It is 430 feet (131 meters) tall and is considered to be the world's longest cable-stayed concrete bridge. Its total length is 8,896 feet (2,678 meters), and it connects Miami with Clearwater. The bridge has six traffic lanes and two sidewalks. It also has a bike path and provides views of the ocean for much of its length.
It was built by the Brodziak Construction Company and opened to traffic on October 13, 1973. The original cost was $50 million ($220 million in 2007 dollars).
The bridge was named after its principal sponsor, the Sun Life Insurance Company of Canada. It is also known as the Canadian River Bridge due to funding issues involving Canada. However, this name appears only on signage at the northern end of the bridge and does not appear on any part of the actual bridge structure itself.
In May 1973, shortly after opening, the first section of the bridge collapsed under the weight of heavy vehicles crossing it. The accident killed 43 people and injured dozens more. After this incident, the remaining five sections of the bridge were connected by bolts instead of welds so they would not have to be constructed again. This same technique is used today on some other bridges around the world.
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a 6.7km (4.14 mile) bridge that spans Tampa Bay in Florida, USA. It is one of the world's most magnificent bridges. The bridge connects St. Petersburg on the east coast with Clearwater on the west coast.
It was built by the Morrison Company from Portland, Oregon and opened to traffic on August 14, 1973. At the time it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. It has been ranked number one since then, when it was surpassed by the Zhongshan Bridge in 1994.
The main span is approximately half a mile long and there are two parallel auxiliary spans each about a tenth of a mile long. There are nearly 50 million vehicles that pass under the bridge every year. It is a popular tourist attraction with walking tours available through the St. Petersburg Downtown Development Authority.
The bridge was designed by John M. Howard, who also designed the Golden Gate Bridge, and was his first major project as a principal in the architecture firm that would become known as John M. Howard & Associates. The main cables were supplied by the Chicago company Voith Siemens Hydro Technologies and the auxiliary cables by another Chicago company, General Cable.