Beckett Bridge Replacement Project
Pinellas County, in conjunction with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), conducted a Project Development and Environment or “PD&E” Study to evaluate the removal, rehabilitation, or replacement of the existing Beckett Bridge over Whitcomb Bayou in Tarpon Springs. The original bridge was constructed in 1924. The bridge is one of the few highway single-leaf, rolling-lift bascule bridges remaining in Florida. The State Historic Preservation officer has determined that the bridge is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
Major portions of the original bridge were reconstructed in 1956, with additional repairs in 1979 and 1988. Recent repairs (2011) were performed to correct issues with the operating machinery and the movable bridge span. Major rehabilitation or replacement of the bridge is needed to keep the bridge open and operating efficiently.
The study began in January 2012. A Public Hearing was held on February 26, 2014 to present the recommended alternative. The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners approved the recommended alternative on April 15, 2014. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among Pinellas County, the Florida Department of Transportation(FDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) was prepared to address the specific mitigation requirements to offset adverse impacts to the historic bridge, which will be demolished. On February 2, 2015 the MOA was signed by all parties and the final environmental document was submitted to FHWA for review and approval. On January 25, 2016, FHWA issued Location and Design Concept Approval (LDCA) for the project. As such, FHWA approved the proposed location of the new bridge (along the existing alignment) and the proposed conceptual design of a new two-lane single-leaf, rolling-lift bridge of similar design as the existing bridge.
The project consists of replacing the existing two-lane movable bridge with a new two-lane movable bridge. The new bridge will provide improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities and will meet current design safety standards. The bridge will provide approximately 7.8 feet of vertical clearance for boats traveling under the bridge and 25 feet of horizontal clearance between the fenders. Unlimited clearance will be provided for boats in the open position. The proposed new bridge will be constructed within the existing County right-of-way.
The typical bridge section includes two, 10-foot wide travel lanes with 6.5-foot shoulders that can function as undesignated bicycle lanes. A 6.5 foot wide sidewalk is proposed on both sides of the bridge. The proposed bridge will be approximately 19 feet wider than the existing bridge.
There will be a continuous sidewalk connection on the north side of Riverside Drive and North Spring Boulevard, from Pampas Avenue to Chesapeake Drive. Due to right-of-way restrictions, there will be a sidewalk on the south side of North Spring Boulevard, from the bridge to Venetian Ct.