NewsPinellas County


A look behind the scenes of the Treasure Island drawbridge

Treasure Island drawbridge
Posted at 12:23 PM, Nov 18, 2021

TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. — You may have driven over the Treasure Island drawbridge once or twice, maybe even hundreds of times. But, ABC Action News got a view not many get to see — from the top.

The birds-eye view atop the tower is one of the most amazing views, seeing all across this unique portion of Treasure Island and into John's Pass.

The tower, built with bullet-proof glass is made to withstand a lot. You'll even find evidence at the top that people really do shoot at it. No one's really sure why.

But it's the intricacies of how this bridge works that are sure to fascinate people.

Think of the dashboard they use as a computer and monitors above it to make sure everyone is safe. The bridge tenders here check every camera angle to make sure no walkers or bikers catch them off guard.

At the touch of a few buttons, the pedestrian gates will close, the loud horn will ring, the lights will flash red and the gates will close. Before you know it, the bridge is on its way up.

Dave Ditto, Lead Bridge Tender said, "I've got the best job in the world. You know, being a bridge tender and doing that in Treasure Island, Florida doesn't get any better. So you can see we've got the world's best views. It's a very serious job when it comes to safety. But it's also a lot of fun."

Serious because you have to make sure you know people aren't on the bridge when it's going up. But it also takes a ton of coordination to make sure this bridge goes up safely. Paramedics are often communicating with the tower so they don't get stuck in traffic when the bridge is up.

"It doesn't get old, really it doesn't. Every day is different. And the weather is pretty incredible to watch up here because you never know what's going to go on. A couple weeks ago we had two water spouts behind me come across Boca Ciega Bay. And that was a lot of fun, but we're built to handle that up here," explained Ditto.

The team wants to remind you that when you see those red lights slow down and stop. It's going to make this six-minute process go faster and keep you and others around you safe.