Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Friendship Trail Update Via St. Pete Times
TAMPA -- Hillsborough County commissioners heard a preliminary estimate today for how much it will cost to fix the Friendship TrailBridge and make it safe again for cyclists and skaters: $30-million.
On the low end, commissioners were told they could consider demolishing the middle section of the span across Tampa Bay and repairing the two ends. That cost: $11-million. The trail, which occupies a now-closed span of the Gandy Bridge, was closed after inspections showed it was deteriorating at a rapid rate and was unsafe for recreational use.
Commissioners voted unanimously to work with Pinellas County, the city of Tampa and community activists to see if they could find some solution. Pinellas County, in fact, has added the Friendship TrailBridge repair to its proposed list of infrastructure projects that could be paid for by an expected federal stimulus package. But Commissioner Jim Norman expressed some skepticism.
"This is a little more staggering than I would have ever anticipated. I would have loved to keep this as a community icon, but it's more than an icon, it's becoming an anchor," he said.
Bill Varian, Times staff writer