Gandy Bridge

Gandy Bridge

Overview
Gandy Bridge is the southernmost bridge spanning Old Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay is a large natural harbor and estuary along the Gulf of Mexico on the west central coast of Florida, comprising Hillsborough Bay, Old Tampa Bay, Middle Tampa Bay, and Lower Tampa Bay."Tampa Bay" is not the name of any municipality...

 from St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. It is known as a vacation destination for both American and foreign tourists. As of 2008, the population estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau is 245,314, making St...

 to Tampa, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Tampa is a city in the U.S. state of Florida. It serves as the county seat for Hillsborough County. Tampa is located on the west coast of Florida. The population of Tampa in 2010 was 335,709....

. Almost three miles long, it is one of three bridges connecting Hillsborough County
Hillsborough County, Florida
As of the census of 2000, there were 998,948 people, 391,357 households, and 255,164 families residing in the county. The population density was 951 people per square mile . There were 425,962 housing units at an average density of 405 per square mile...

 and Pinellas County; the others being the Howard Frankland Bridge
Howard Frankland Bridge
The W. Howard Frankland Bridge is the central bridge spanning Old Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg, Florida to Tampa, Florida. It is one of three bridges connecting Hillsborough County and Pinellas County; the others being Gandy Bridge and Courtney Campbell Causeway...

 and the Courtney Campbell Causeway.


In 1910, H. Walter Fuller was a director of three companies owned by F. A. Davis
F. A. Davis
Frank Allston Davis was a publishing executive who founded the F. A. Davis Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After moving to the Tampa Bay Area, he introduced electricity to St...

. George S. Gandy, Sr
George Gandy
George Shepard "Dad" Gandy was a business executive and developer, best known for constructing the original Gandy Bridge, the first bridge to span the Tampa Bay. He is also known for developing numerous buildings and transportation lines in Philadelphia and St. Petersburg,...

 was the president of all three companies.
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Encyclopedia
Gandy Bridge is the southernmost bridge spanning Old Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay is a large natural harbor and estuary along the Gulf of Mexico on the west central coast of Florida, comprising Hillsborough Bay, Old Tampa Bay, Middle Tampa Bay, and Lower Tampa Bay."Tampa Bay" is not the name of any municipality...

 from St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. It is known as a vacation destination for both American and foreign tourists. As of 2008, the population estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau is 245,314, making St...

 to Tampa, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Tampa is a city in the U.S. state of Florida. It serves as the county seat for Hillsborough County. Tampa is located on the west coast of Florida. The population of Tampa in 2010 was 335,709....

. Almost three miles long, it is one of three bridges connecting Hillsborough County
Hillsborough County, Florida
As of the census of 2000, there were 998,948 people, 391,357 households, and 255,164 families residing in the county. The population density was 951 people per square mile . There were 425,962 housing units at an average density of 405 per square mile...

 and Pinellas County; the others being the Howard Frankland Bridge
Howard Frankland Bridge
The W. Howard Frankland Bridge is the central bridge spanning Old Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg, Florida to Tampa, Florida. It is one of three bridges connecting Hillsborough County and Pinellas County; the others being Gandy Bridge and Courtney Campbell Causeway...

 and the Courtney Campbell Causeway.

Original Gandy Bridge



In 1910, H. Walter Fuller was a director of three companies owned by F. A. Davis
F. A. Davis
Frank Allston Davis was a publishing executive who founded the F. A. Davis Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After moving to the Tampa Bay Area, he introduced electricity to St...

. George S. Gandy, Sr
George Gandy
George Shepard "Dad" Gandy was a business executive and developer, best known for constructing the original Gandy Bridge, the first bridge to span the Tampa Bay. He is also known for developing numerous buildings and transportation lines in Philadelphia and St. Petersburg,...

 was the president of all three companies. Fuller prepared a map including a proposed bridge that would cross upper Tampa Bay following the route of Ninth Street North in St. Petersburg. Gandy partnered with Fuller, incorporating three companies towards design and construction of the bridge. Survey crews decided to change the route from Ninth Street to Fourth Street. In 1918, World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 required that all projects exceeding $250,000 required a certificate of necessity from the War Industries Board
War Industries Board
The War Industries Board was a United States government agency established on July 28, 1917, during World War I, to coordinate the purchase of war supplies. The organization encouraged companies to use mass-production techniques to increase efficiency and urged them to eliminate waste by...

 headed by Bernard Baruch
Bernard Baruch
Bernard Mannes Baruch was an American financier, stock-market speculator, statesman, and political consultant. After his success in business, he devoted his time toward advising U.S. Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt on economic matters and became a philanthropist.-Early life...

. The project was not approved and financing was canceled. Gandy bought out Fuller's interests and continued alone.

In 1922, Gandy hired promoter Eugene M. Elliott to attract new investment. Gandy sold enough stock to finance the bridge, which cost $1,932,000. Construction began in September 1922 and the bridge was completed for a formal opening on November 20, 1924. The steel and concrete bridge spanned a distance of two and a half miles, making it the longest automobile toll bridge in the world at that time. Its double steel bascule drawbridge had a clearance span of 75 feet (22.9 m) and operated electrically. The original toll to cross the bridge was $.75 for an automobile and driver and $.10 for additional passengers. The bridge stopped collecting tolls on April 27, 1944 after it was seized by the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

. On December 23, 1945, a federal jury awarded The Gandy Company $2,383,642 in compensation for the property, plus $100,000 in interest.

The bridge reduced the distance between Tampa and St. Petersburg from 43 to 19 miles (30.6 km). Its location enabled travel by auto along the route of the world's first scheduled airline flight
1914 in aviation
This is a list of aviation-related events from 1914.The outbreak of World War I accelerates all aspects of aviation which in turn changes war in a twofold way. The aeroplane turns the sky into a new battle field and eliminates the distinction between frontline and hinterland, with the civilian...

, which operated between Tampa and Saint Petersburg for six months in 1914.

The Gandy Bridge opened on November 20, 1924 Sixteen visiting state governors and several foreign dignitaries attended the opening ceremony. During George Gandy's speech, he stated; "The bridge is built!"

The bridge was dismantled in 1975 immediately after completion of a third span. Efforts to preserve the bridge for recreational purposes were not supported by the Pinellas County Commission, which felt the idea was too expensive, too dangerous, and unnecessary.

Second Gandy Bridge


By 1947, state Sen. Raymond Sheldon described the bridge as "outmoded, too narrow and a traffic bottleneck." In 1956 a second slightly higher, fixed span was added to the Gandy Bridge to serve westbound traffic. The first span would then serve eastbound traffic until 1975. The second bridge remained in use until February 1997.

Friendship Trail Bridge


Years before, the Florida Department of Transportation
Florida Department of Transportation
The Florida Department of Transportation is a decentralized agency charged with the establishment, maintenance, and regulation of public transportation in the state of Florida. The department was formed in 1969. It absorbed the powers of the Florida State Road Department...

 (FDOT) deemed the bridge structurally deficient to vehicular traffic unless costly repairs were made. FDOT initially planned to demolish the middle section of the bridge (including the hump) and leave the remaining fishing pier segments intact. The demolished segments would have then been used for an artificial reef. When residents and community groups in both Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties lobbied together against FDOT and the governments of the two counties to save the 1956 bridge, FDOT dropped its demolition plan. After two years of hearings and funding issues, the 1956 bridge reopened to pedestrian and bicycle traffic on December 11, 1999 as the Friendship Trail Bridge.
On November 6, 2008, the Friendship Trail was shut down "indefinitely" (though the ends remained open) after a state inspection determined that there were significant structural problems with the bridge's pylons. The bridge had been decaying for years, eventually forcing the closure of the span to vehicular traffic. However, the inspection yielded that the corrosion of the pylons had worsened and that the overall condition of the bridge was no longer suitable to keep it open due to safety issues. Only a couple months before, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge
Skyway Fishing Pier State Park
Skyway Fishing Pier State Park is a Florida State Park located on the north and south sides of the mouth of Tampa Bay. When the new Sunshine Skyway Bridge was built on I-275 after one part of the old bridge collapsed due to a barge accident, the approaches to the old bridge were turned into the...

's fishing piers were deemed to the same fate (A recent inspection there had forced the closure of the eastern span on both the northern and southern piers). There was also a repair plan in place for the bridge that would have repaired the pylons at a cost of $4.2 million dollars. That project has since been put on hold due to the new developments.

December 17 brought further gloom for the trail when preliminary estimates to retrofit the bridge added up to about $30 million. Furthermore, the projected costs would only provide a temporary solution to the structure that would only last about ten years. With the state and the nation in recession, county governments saw no way to meet the staggering costs, leaving the trail likely closed for good.

December 20, 2008 was the "final nail in the coffin" for the Friendship Trail. A report done by Kisinger Campo & Associates and SDR Engineering Consultants showed that the bridge could potentially collapse due to the amount of decay on the structure. Immediately after the report was released, Hillsborough and Pinellas County officials decided to close the entire bridge permanently. The report suggested the following:
  • $4.1 million to retrofit both ends of the bridge only
  • $30 million to retrofit the entire structure
  • $12 million to demolish the bridge only
  • $81.1 million to demolish and rebuild the bridge


In May 2009, the initial estimates were revised:
  • $10 million to retrofit both ends of the bridge only
  • $15 million to retrofit the entire structure
  • $17 million to demolish the bridge only
  • $19 million to demolish and rebuild the bridge


After a series of meetings in May, June, and July 2009, the Friendship Trail bridge oversight committee voted to consider the $15 million dollar option to retrofit the entire bridge, which would add about 10 years to its lifespan, with supporters hoping that it would be funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Also in July 2009, the animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is an American animal rights organization based in Norfolk, Virginia, and led by Ingrid Newkirk, its international president. A non-profit corporation with 300 employees and two million members and supporters, it claims to be the largest animal rights...

 (PETA) offered to contribute funds to help save the Friendship Trail. However, the group asked for fishing to be banned throughout the entire span. In addition, the bridge would be renamed as the "Sea Kitten Memorial Trail Bridge".

In April 2010, the fate of the bridge was sealed, as both Hillsborough and Pinellas County Commissions voted to demolish the entire structure. The commissions are still proposing ways to commence demolition and a timetable has not yet been set.

Third and fourth Gandy Bridges



A third span was opened to traffic on October 20, 1975 and was originally without street lighting. This replaced the original span which was immediately dismanted.

On December 21, 1996, another parallel span was built in between the two existing spans to replace the aging 1956 bridge. The new bridge was initially opened to eastbound traffic while the 1975 bridge was closed to allow FDOT to install street lighting and conduct other bridge work. Westbound traffic at that time continued to utilize the 1956 bridge. The 1996 bridge was converted to westbound traffic in February 1997.

Differences between the spans


The differences between the three bridges are obvious to observers. The 1956 bridge has a very steep hump and no emergency shoulders (which caused horrendous traffic hazards prior to its closing). The 1975 bridge has a more gradual hump than the oldest bridge and wider shoulders. The pillars supporting the hump are of a different design but the remaining architectural elements between the two bridges (bridge rails, etc) are very similar. The 1996 bridge is the one that differs the most from the older bridges. Its height is nine feet higher than its counterparts and has a very gradual hump. The design and architecture of the 1996 bridge is similar to the Clearwater Pass Bridge replacement, which was completed in 1994.

Mishap history


Several barges have struck one of the spans of the Gandy Bridge throughout the years.
  • December 12, 1970: A barge hits the drawbridge when it doesn't open in time, cracking several pilings
  • February 6, 1981: The barge Liquilassie, towed by the tug Tusker, swings wide on a starboard turn and strikes Gandy Bridge, damaging a support column.
  • August 31, 1985: Two barges break their moorings and, powered by waves from Hurricane Elena, crash into the southernmost span of the bridge.
  • March 31, 1988: The shrimp boat Madonna T. Tillman sinks after striking the center of the bridge while being towed by another shrimp boat.
  • March 31, 2006: The 285-foot-long steel barge Apache, towed by the tug Crosby Skipper, swings wide on a turn and slams into a concrete support column. Chunks of reinforced concrete dropped onto the barge's deck, and cracks rippled through the 48-foot-long beam.

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