ST. PETERSBURG - The Florida Department of Transportation shifted eastbound traffic to the new Pinellas Bayway Bridge, connecting St. Pete Beach and Isla del Sol, on Monday night. For the next three weeks, the eastbound toll lane of the Bayway will be closed, while roadway work is completed for the anticipated shift for westbound traffic a few weeks later.
FDOT says once both eastbound and westbound traffic have been switched to the new span, the old bridge will be demolished and then the other new span will be constructed.
As part of the traffic switch, drivers accessing the Pinellas Bayway (SR 682) from Bahia Del Mar Blvd S. or Sun Blvd S. will only be able to make a right turn onto the Bayway. Drivers wishing to go west from Bahia Del Mar will need to make a right turn and then a u-turn at the signalized intersection of SR 679 and SR 682 or use the southern entrance/exit on SR 679. Additionally, drivers wishing to go east from Sun Blvd S. will need to use the signalized intersection of Sun Blvd W. and the Bayway. Drivers traveling the Bayway will not be allowed to make a left turn onto Bahia Del Mar or Sun Blvd.
The $40 million project to replace the 50-year-old two-lane drawbridge began in February, 2012. The new 65-foot-high bridge will allow boats to pass underneath without impacting motorists, and is anticipated to improve traffic flow by reducing congestion. The project is scheduled for completion in Fall, 2014.