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Bridge projects to cause some slowdowns for beachgoers
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
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Two big bridge projects are underway this summer.
PINELLAS COUNTY (Bay News 9) -- Beachgoers can expect some slowdowns surrounding construction on two bridges in Pinellas County this summer and residents should heed extra caution during a possible hurricane evacuation.

Construction on the Belleair Beach Causeway Bridge, a $72.2 million project, and John's Pass Bridge, $76.9 million, is underway.

Work on both of them will make big improvements but for now it's causing traffic headaches for locals.

"It's very very congested, it's a tourist area, there's a lot of tourist people who don't know where they are going," said Wendy Schultz, who operates a business at John's Pass.

As for a possible hurricane evacuation, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) officials say people just need to be aware.

"It always had one lane in each direction and we haven't changed anything, so people just need to be aware when they have to evacuate, if they have to evacuate," said Marian Scorza with FDOT.

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John's Pass project
Belleair Beach Causeway Bridge

But drivers will have to deal with traffic cones, barriers, and some lane shifting.

At times there will be lane closures on top of the bridge as well as underneath it in the channel for boats.

The John's Pass project is expected to be completed by spring 2010 but is a little behind schedule because of steel fabrication and some weather delays. But the contractor feels he can make up that time.

The Belleair Beach Causeway Bridge should be completed in October 2009.

In the meantime, the project manager thanks drivers for cooperating.

"We do understand it creates an inconvenience," said project manager Tony Horrnick. "And it does create delays but at the same time we appreciate the understanding they've exercised in the county."
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