Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Report: $15 Million -- Not $30M -- To Fix Friendship Trail Bridge

A St. Pete Times story says it will cost $15 million -- not $30 million as originally thought -- to repair the Friendship Trail Bridge so that its life would be extended by 10 years.

The story says there was a meeting at 1 PM TODAY on the Friendship Trail. Can the county please give people more lead time regarding these meetings?

New estimate lowers costs to repair Friendship Trail Bridge
TAMPA -- Making the Friendship Trail Bridge safe for fisherman, inline skaters and bikers may not cost as much as initially thought.

The firms Kisinger Campo & Associates and SDR Engineering Consultants have told Hillsborough and Pinellas counties that repairing the former Gandy Bridge span to make it safe enough for recreational users may cost $15 million. A previous preliminary estimate placed the cost at twice that amount.

The more detailed followup report confirms initial findings that the bridge's metal spine is badly corroded and broken in some places. It offers estimated costs for several options:

* Repairing the bridge for $15 million, which would make it safe for recreation for about 10 years.

* Repairing both ends of the bridges that include catwalks used for fishing, which would run about $10 million and still need to be demolished in 10 years.

* Demolishing the entire span and building two new fishing piers at either end at a cost of about $17.5 million. New fishing piers may have to be demolished when a new Gandy Bridge is built in several years.

* Demolishing the entire span and building two new fishing piers when a new Gandy bridge is built, at a cost of $13 million for demolition and another $6.5 million to build new piers.

Both county governments had been set to split the cost of $4.2 million in repairs beginning in November 2008. Then a final inspection turned up trouble. Steel tendons that support the span were eroding quickly, cracking in some places and sending shards of concrete into the bay

The full report can be viewed at www.hillsboroughcounty.org/publicworks. Click on "Publications."

A presentation will be made to the Friendship Trail Oversight Committee at 1 p.m. today at the Jan Platt Library, 3901 S Manhattan Ave., with public hearings to be scheduled in June before presentations to the Hillsborough and Pinellas county commissions.

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