Old Pinellas Bayway bridge foundations destroyed - WFLA News Channel 8

Old Pinellas Bayway bridge foundations destroyed

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PINELLAS COUNTY, FL -

A large underwater explosion brought an end to a section of the old Pinellas Bayway bridge this afternoon.

The bridge first opened in 1962, taking motorists to St. Pete Beach. 

The explosion was delayed several times during the day as marine life was spotted in the area.

Chris Carson with the Florida Department of Transportation says great care was taken to protect the sea life.

"We want to make sure we don't harm any animals. We have six manatee watchers. We have the Florida Fish and Wildlife is out here with their helicopter," says Carson

Several spectators stopped to watch the explosion.

Stephen Miller says the new span of the bridge is already improving traffic in the area.

"Traffic flow is tremendous. Whether you're on boat or on car, it's tremendous flow right now. It's exciting for the whole community," says Miller.

The Florida Department of Transportation says the demolition today will allow work on the bridge to continue.

Chris Carson says, "We're going to continue the removal of all of the old drawbridge. It's put on a barge and it's put on an artificial reef. By the end of the summer all of the old drawbridge should be out. Simultaneously, we're starting on the new span as well."

The new span is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2014.

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