Are Tampa Bay area bridges safe?

12:03 AM, May 25, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, FL -- Here in Tampa Bay, many of us drive on bridges every single day. The 10 News Investigators did a comprehensive analysis of all bridges in the Bay area and found - by and large - most major bridges had structurally sound ratings. 

The Federal Highway Administration requires states to report any bridges found structurally deficient (which means it needs a repair or a replacement part) or functionally obsolete (which means it needs to be updated to current standards).

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, the state ranks the lowest in the nation of bridges considered deficient... which doesn't necessarily mean a bridge is unsafe.

There are two state bridges rated by the U.S. Department of Transportation as "structurally deficient" in our area: 

  • The Lee Roy Selmon Expressway westbound over 22nd, which is currently under construction as part of the connector project to I-4 
  • "Bayway E," the road to Tierra Verde

FDOT calls these bridges safe, but they'll need to be repaired or replaced within six years.

10 News talked to US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood when he was in town lobbying for a transportation bill about the infrastructure nationwide. 

"America is one big pot hole and many of our bridges are in disrepair," LaHood said at the time.

We also asked FDOT about two of the roads from the list that are major thoroughfares. FDOT says the one on I-4 Westbound listed as a mile and a half from US 41 in Tampa was being used as a temporary bridge during parts of the I-4 Connector project. That bridge has already been torn down. Also, the bridge over Allen Creek on US 19 just north of SR 686 is out of service. No cars are driving on it, and that too will be torn down in the next couple of months as part of the US 19 interchange project.

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