Beckett Bridge Project - Project Status
The Study began in January 2012. Alternatives developed, including the “No-Build” Alternative, No-Build with Permanent Removal of the Bridge, Rehabilitation, Replacement with a New Movable Bridge and Replacement with a New Fixed Bridge were presented to the community at an Alternatives Workshop in January 2013. Based on public input and extensive coordination with federal and state agencies, additional rehabilitation alternatives were evaluated after the workshop.
The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) approved the “Recommended Alternative” for Replacement of the Beckett Bridge with a New Movable Bridge that was recommended by County Staff and presented at the October 22, 2013 BCC meeting.
The “Recommended Alternative”, Replacement with a New Movable Bridge, was selected based on extensive evaluation and consideration of many factors including:
- Engineering and costs
- Transportation needs
- Safety of vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians
- Potential socioeconomic and community impacts
- Impacts to the natural and physical environment
- Impacts to historic and other cultural resources
- Impacts to adjacent properties
- Impacts to the boating community
- Consideration of public input
- Other potential impacts
The Recommended Alternative - Replacement of the Existing Bridge with a movable bridge providing 7.8 feet of vertical clearance was presented at a Public Hearing on February 26, 2014 at the Tarpon Springs Yacht Club. Information about all alternatives considered during the study was also provided. Approximately 100 individuals attended. A summary of Comments received during the official Public Hearing comment period is provided on the Public Hearing page of this website.
A presentation was made to the Board of County Commission on April 15, 2014 which summarized the results of the February 26, 2014 Public Hearing. The Commission confirmed and ratified their approval of the “Recommended Alternative” to move forward as the “Preferred Alternative” and to be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration for approval.
The project team is currently finalizing environmental documents and continuing coordination with federal and state agencies to address mitigation for demolition of the existing historic bridge. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) will be prepared which outlines what will be required. Mitigation could include construction of a monument or informational kiosk about the historic bridge, or incorporation of part of the existing bridge into the proposed new bridge.
The Engineering and Environmental Documents; a transcript of the Public Hearing, and the MOA will be provided to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for their final Approval.
For additional information about the Recommended Alternative, review the presentation and graphics presented at the Public Hearing.
- February 26, 2014 - The Recommended Alternative was Presented at the Public Hearing
- April 15, 2014 – Results of the Public Hearing were presented to the BCC. The BCC ratified and confirmed their approval of the Recommended/Preferred Alternative to be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration for Final Approval.
- March – July 2014 – Engineering and Environmental Documents will be Finalized.
- August – January 2016 – Coordination will continue with State and Federal Agencies and Approval from the Federal Highway Administration for the Recommended Alternative will be Requested
- Early 2016 – Design Phase to Begin
- 2019 – Construction to begin depending on funding availability
Why does the existing bridge need to be replaced?
The existing two-lane Beckett Bridge, which carries Riverside Drive/North Spring Boulevard over Whitcomb Bayou, was originally constructed in 1924 as a timber bridge. with a steel movable span. The timber portions of the bridge were replaced with concrete in 1956. Since then, major repairs were performed in 1979, 1998 and in 2011. These repairs were expensive and disrupted local traffic.
Bridges built in the mid to late 1950’s were typically designed to remain in service for about 50 years. The reconstructed Beckett Bridge is over 50 years old and has deteriorated. The bridge is “load posted” which means that some large, heavy trucks and other vehicles, including school busses, have been prohibited from crossing the bridge because of its deteriorating condition. It is likely that additional costly repairs will be needed in the future to keep the bridge operational.
The existing bridge is also considered “functionally obsolete” because of the narrow width of the bridge. There are no shoulders or bicycle lanes, and the sidewalks are very narrow – about two feet wide. In addition, there are other characteristics of the bridge that don’t meet current design safety standards required for new bridges.
When will construction start?
The Final Design Phase of the project has been funded and is anticipated to begin in early 2016. Construction is currently not funded. Completion of the PD&E Study will qualify future phases of the project for federal funding. Depending on funding availability, construction could start in 2019.