Scenic USA - Florida

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

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Sunshine Skyway Bridge - St. Petersburg, Florida

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Photography

   The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is the largest bridge system in the world. The super bridge spans Tampa Bay and makes up 5.5 miles of Interstate Highway 275. The 244 million dollar bridge, made of concrete and steel, took the American Bridge Company five years to build, opening to traffic in 1987.
   Past experiences lead designers to construct a protective system around the bridge piers to ward off any misguided freighters and tankers which move in and out of the bay every day. The original bay bridge opened in 1954 and collapsed on the morning of May 9th, 1980 during high winds and rain. In one of the worst bridge disasters in American history, the freighter Summit Venture got caught in a crosswind and ran into the south pier, taking out 1260 feet of the center span. Sunshine Skyway Bridge - Bradenton, Florida According to his wife, Capt. John Lerro, pilot of the Summit Venture, was haunted until his death by the bridge accident victims.
   This view looks out over immense Tampa Bay from the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park. The bay is surrounded by four of Florida's prominent cities, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bradenton and Clearwater, with a population of more than four million people. The Tampa Bay bridge figures prominently in the daily commute of 50,000 vehicles.

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