Wednesday, February 11, 2009
DOT Responds to SWFBUD Request for Gandy Bridge Upgrades
On behalf of SWFBUD, I contacted Donald Skelton, district manager for the Tampa Bay area DOT area, about making the current Gandy Bridge more hospitable to bicyclists by putting a barrier along the shoulder and creating bicycle and pedestrian space.
I received his response today. In summary, the DOT will not install any bicycle facilities but at least we get Share the Road signs put of the deal. Here is Skelton's response:
The department has evaluated the feasibility of providing for a physical barrier between the traffic lanes and the shoulder of the Gandy Bridge.
Our findings indicate the required six foot, one-way or twelve foot, two-way, clear width required for multi-use paths across the Gandy Bridge cannot be provided for two significant reasons.
First, the bridge structures were not designed to accommodate the additional loading from the weight of the barrier walls required.
Second, the addition of a separated multi-use path would eliminate the required pavement shoulders across the bridge. These pavement shoulders provide for a critical safety feature for vehicles to use for emergency purposes.
In accordance with Section 335.065, Florida Statutes, the department has also evaluated designating the bridge shoulder as a bicycle and pedestrian way by means of pavement markings without a physical barrier.
At present, the department cannot designate the bridge shoulders for bicycles and pedestrians due to a 5 year crash history from 2002-2007 indicating a significant number of crashes involving the barrier walls and also due to the lack of required pedestrian and bicycle railings on top of the barrier walls.
Please note that S.R. 600 (Gandy Boulevard) is not a limited access facility and the department’s policy is not to restrict bicyclists or pedestrians from using the shoulder across the Gandy Bridge.
In consideration of the above, the department will add street signs along the roadway approaches in advance of the bridge ends to indicate that motorists must share the shoulder.
Please expect these signs to be installed within four weeks from this date.
The department appreciates the time you have taken on behalf of thousands of bicyclists in the Tampa Bay area to express interest of a multi-use path across the Gandy Bridge.
Thank you for your interest and concern for the bicyclists in the Tampa Bay area. If there is any additional information we can provide you regarding the Gandy Bridge, please contact Mr. Ronald Chin, P.E., District Design Engineer at Ronald.Chin@dot.state.fl.us or at 813/975-6030.
Donald J. Skelton, P.E.
District Seven Secretary