New pedestrian bridge to cross Tampa Bay - WFLA News Channel 8

New pedestrian bridge to cross Tampa Bay

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A new bridge is being built across Tampa Bay and vehicles won't be allowed on it when it opens.

"People are asking if we're building a new bridge for cars. It's not for cars. It's actually going to be for pedestrians," explained Florida Department of Transportation Spokesperson Kristen Carson.

It runs parallel to the Courtney Campbell Causeway and will allow people to safely walk from Tampa to Clearwater. Crews started building the 4-mile Hillsborough County section first.

"The construction should wrap up at the end of this year depending on the rainy season this summer," said Carson. "There's a second part of the trail bridge that will be built in Pinellas County starting next year."

Carson says the completed stretch will connect to existing trail networks on both sides of the Bay.

"I'll use it," said Pinellas County resident Helene Berger as she walked along Bayshore Boulevard in Clearwater. "It goes over the water and there will be a nice breeze, I figure. It'll just be a beautiful view walking over that bridge.  I think the more trails you have and the more opportunity you give to people to walk and see the views is just a positive for this area."

Anglers, like Capt. Mark Newton of Fun Flats Fishing, are also excited.

"The fish like structure and as a result, it's just going to improve the fishing up here in my view," said Newton. "I'm glad that we stepped up and did this. I think it's wonderful."

The new addition is being welcomed by people who miss the Friendship Trail Bridge. It closed to the public in 2008 for safety reasons.  A community effort to push for funding to have it renovated is still ongoing.

Carson says the new pedestrian bridge along State Road 60 will cost about $14 million and will be entirely paid for with a federal transportation grant.

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