Author Topic: The Skyway Bridge  (Read 488 times)

Offline Johnny McCrae

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The Skyway Bridge
« on: May 06, 2023, 09:22:53 AM »
I stumbled on a nice picture of the Skyway Bridge at night. We always enjoy going over it when we go to St. Petersburg to visit our son. It would be fun to drive a Harley over this bridge. I calculate that it is a 15-degree grade going up and down.

Below is a little bit of information about the Skyway Bridge.

The Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge is the highest bridge in Florida at 430 feet at its highest point. Located between St. Petersburg and Bradenton, this bridge is just over four miles long. It has a rich history, which is clear from the fact that the new Skyway is located adjacent to the older version which collapsed in 1980. After this collapse, the new Skyway was constructed and the older bridge was left in place, both sides still holding up though the middle is gone. It is still used for fishing and other activities on the Bradenton and St. Petersburg sides. The Sunshine Skyway was not an easy build, and it took years for correct permitting and funding to construct the bridge. Even after it was built, the trouble didn’t end there. The first bridge was destroyed, and a new structure was built next to it, where it still stands today. After multiple ideas were shot down, Florida Governor Bob Graham proposed the idea of building a cable-stayed bridge. It would be built next to the old Skyway and be wider for motorists and the shipping lane underneath would also be wider. It was at this time that the new Skyway would become known as the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Construction on the new Skyway bridge began in January 1983 and was completed in 1987. The bridge is accessible to motorists only, mainly because of the many suicides which have happened. However, in 2017, an annual event called “Summit the Skyway” was started. It’s a 10-kilometer race across the bridge for walkers and runners. During this time, the bridge is closed to traffic and the northbound lanes are used for racers. The race happens yearly and all funds go towards the Armed Forces Families Foundation. Since the old, dilapidated Skyway was converted into a pier, many people were drawn to the area for fishing. The rubble was used to construct an artificial reef under the pier, which now houses many animals.
The Skyway Fishing Pier is now a Flrida state Park and the longest fishing pier in the world. There are many popular species to catch from this pier including Snook, Grouper, Black sea bass, Tarpon, Spanish mackerel, King mackerel, Red snapper, Cobia, Sheepshead, and Pompano. It is open 24 hours a day and can be visited at any time to fish or simply watch the sun rise or set. There is a fee to access the state park fishing pier, and interested patrons have to pay $4 per vehicle. Additionally, it costs $4 per person to actually fish off of the old Skyway. The bridge is lighted at night and there are many amenities available for anglers. There are restrooms, bait and fishing supplies, as well as snacks and drinks available at the bait shop at the end of the pier.
You need to learn to like all the little everday things like a sip of good whiskey, a soft bed, a glass of buttermilk,  and a feisty old gentleman like myself


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