Hillsborough County has said they will demolish the Friendship TrailBridge

5:33 PM, Jan 14, 2014   |    comments
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Tampa Bay, Florida-- Hillsborough County has said it will demolish the 57-year-old Friendship TrailBridge. 

The recreational bridge runs alongside the Gandy Bridge and connects Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. It closed in December of 2008 after engineers warned of a potential collapse, and deemed it unsafe for use. 

According to TrailBridge.org, their main concerns were corrosion and erosion of the reinforcing steel, along with bits of broken concrete and broken steel bars- all of which would be quite costly to repair. 

"Cost estimates range from $4.1 million to repair the spans on either end of the bridge that are currently open; $30 million to repair the entire bridge; $12 million to demolish the bridge portion only; and $81.8 million to demolish the old bridge and build a replacement," the official bridge closure notice explained. 

Since then, city and county officials and park and public works representatives were open to enlisting private investors to cover costs. It appears, however, that even though they had leads, plans are in place to go through with a demolition.

A TBO.com article Tuesday said an architect and advocate of saving the bridge had been working with a group of investors interested in turning the bridge into a "linear park".  In the article, the county public works director claims they never heard back from the investors, but the architect says it was the county who was supposed to follow up with an official request for proposals. 

Public Works Director John Lyons was reviewing previous commission meeting minutes to see if his staff was told to do so. Of four commissioners contacted, at least one seemed to remember assigning the directive.

Click here for the entire Tampa Tribune story.

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