More than 7,000 vehicles a day cross Beckett Bridge in Tarpon Springs. The aging bridge, built in 1924, is scheduled to be replaced beginning in 2018.
TARPON SPRINGS – Residents who normally travel Beckett Bridge will need to pick an alternate route Thursday, July 24.
The aging bridge will be closed from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for repairs of a transition header between the movable part of the structure and the pavement.
James Butts with Pinellas County Department of Environment and Infrastructure said the one-day repair would fix a crack that had formed in the concrete.
The repair and bridge closure had initially been scheduled for Monday, July 28, but a piece of the concrete broke out and repairs were moved up to ensure there were no problems over the weekend. A temporary repair has already been made using asphalt.
“It was safer to move it up before the weekend,” Butts said Wednesday afternoon. “The bridge is still safe to use. This is a maintenance repair.”
The transition header is made of steel and poured concrete. The concrete is cracking. The steel beam, which ultimately carries the load, is not affected. Workers will remove the old concrete and pour new to fix the crack.
“We’re starting early and hopefully we’ll be done before 4 p.m.,” he said.
But 4 p.m. is the scheduled time for completion of the fix.
Butts said it is not unusual for cracks to form in the concrete due to the stress of vehicles hitting the beam as they move from the movable section of the bridge back to the pavement.
The closure will affect motorists traveling on Riverside Drive from Chesapeake Drive to Pampas Avenue. Suggested alternate routes are Meres Boulevard and South Florida Avenue. Motorists should expect significant delays and congestion. Detour signs will be in place to direct traffic.
Pinellas County Commissioners unanimously approved a consultant’s plan in April for replacement of Beckett Bridge over Whitcomb Bayou in Tarpon Springs. The plan calls for a new movable bridge. Cost is $15.8 million, with $800,000 budgeted for aesthetic enhancements. Work on the design is scheduled to begin in 2015 with construction beginning in 2018. Plans call for the bridge to be closed for one year.
Beckett Bridge, built in 1924, is one of the few highway single-leaf rolling-life bascule bridges left in the state of Florida.