March 1, 2017
Representatives of the Florida Department of Transportation reported to the Tierra Verde Business Partnership that replacement of Structure E (a.k.a. the Tierra Verde Bridge) is fully funded. The estimated cost currently is about $52 million. FDOT will use a “design/build” process meaning that engineers will be designing phases of the project while construction is under way. This shortens the overall length of the project. FDOT expects to have the design and construction firms under contract by December, 2017 with construction to begin in 2018.
Scope of the project includes not only replacement of the bridge but resurfacing of Pinellas Bayway from Rt. 682 on Isla del Sol south as far as the marina after the 7-Eleven on Tierra Verde. The project includes a 12-ft wide trail on the east side of Pinellas Bayway between Rt. 682 south to the north end of the new bridge and a 5-ft wide walking path on the west side of the same section of Pinellas Bayway. The dedicated trail and walking path will be part of the bridge structure too.
Aesthetically, the bridge will mirror the new Structure C (a.k.a. the bridge to St. Pete Beach) using the same style support structures, light poles and wall murals/sculptures.
The newest piece of information revealed by FDOT is that a round-about likely will be installed at the intersection of Pinellas Bayway and Madonna Boulevard instead of a traffic light. FDOT cited the increased safety of roundabouts and diminished noise as the basis of that decision.
Below is a draft rendering of the round-about as currently conceived. The green shaded areas represent grass. Red shaded areas represent paved or brick paver shoulders for emergency vehicles and/or traffic control. The white areas represent pedestrian or bike trails.
As represented in the image, the entrance/exit from 7-Eleven directly onto Pinellas Bayway will be removed and the entrances/exits into the Tierra Verde Hardware Store and Mobile station directly onto Pinellas Bayway will be removed. The existing entrances from Madonna Boulevard to all of those facilities will remain in place and the entrance south of 7-Eleven and Century 21 to the marina and Island Grille will be enhanced.
FDOT anticipates the project will be completed by 2022 (including demolition of the existing bridge). A public workshop at which plans for the bridge will be presented is in the planning stages.