Skyscraper City Forum banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,967 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Agnes Rice, 89, remembers construction of Davis Causeway
By Keith Niebuhr, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Sunday, June 28, 2009


The first cars make their way across the Davis Causeway on June 28, 1934, after the official opening. Work on the 9.9-mile road began in 1927.

TAMPA

Ben T. Davis, a Lone Star State native, married man and father of two boys, dressed impeccably, spoke smoothly and was always polite.

"A Texas gentleman," Agnes Rice said of Davis, who made his money in Texas cattle before settling here.

On June 28, 1934, 75 years ago today, Davis opened a 9.9-mile stretch of road that ran at sea level along Old Tampa Bay and substantially shortened the commute from Tampa to Clearwater.

Fittingly, he named it the Davis Causeway.

Decades have passed since Davis forever changed the landscape of the area, but Rice's memories of the era, and of the man, remain vivid. In fact, the 89-year-old Treasure Island resident knew him well.

Rice, owner of Gators Cafe & Saloon in John's Pass with her family, was 8 when construction began on the causeway that would later become the Courtney Campbell Parkway and 14 when it finished. Rice, then known as Agnes Hawrsk, moved to Tampa with her family from Connecticut in 1924 and lived on Rocky Point, a spot that was bare, to say the least.

"There was hardly anything there," Rice said from an eighth-floor room at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay that overlooks Rocky Point, where she stayed Wednesday night so she could attend a Thursday morning celebration of the parkway's 75th anniversary.

Only three families lived on Rocky Point at the time, along with a man Rice described as a hermit. The home Rice's family rented sat on the point's eastern side and faced Tampa. Her father operated a fishing camp there. Her mother watched after the children.

Rice did her part at the camp, cleaning boats and poles and doing whatever else needed to be done. For fun, she and her three siblings (two brothers and a sister) would head downtown to the Tampa Theatre, located on what was then a bustling Franklin Street.

"We'd go there barefoot," Rice said.

An engineering graduate who built the first railroads in Mexico, Davis moved to Tampa in 1926 when he was in his late 50s. Back then, only the Gandy Bridge (which opened in 1924) crossed Old Tampa Bay, and most traveling between Tampa and Clearwater went north through Oldsmar.

According to newspaper accounts, Davis parked his Ford Model T on the western shore of Old Tampa Bay one morning, squinted into the sun and decided to bridge the bay. In 1927, he put down $1.5 million to begin dredging and filling the causeway.

"He gave lots of people a lot of work," Rice said.

Rice and her siblings got to know many of those workers, and sometimes played on the barges used to build it. Workers often stopped by the camp to buy fish sandwiches.

After the causeway opened, Davis and his family moved into an apartment above a tollhouse on the Pinellas side. When he needed housekeeping done, he asked Rice and her sister, Paula, to help and they obliged.

Davis eventually moved back to Texas, where he died in 1946. Two years later, the causeway was renamed for Courtney Campbell, a state road department member instrumental in bringing major repairs and beautification to the parkway. Today, a recreation area on the Hillsborough side of the parkway is named for Davis.

At 23, Agnes Hawrsk married Charlie Rice and moved to the beaches.

For Rice, whose husband died nearly three decades ago, the parkway's 75th anniversary is a time to reminisce. About life on Rocky Point, about the causeway and about Davis, the friendly man from the Lone Star State who left a Texas-sized imprint on the Tampa Bay area.

"He really wanted that bridge."

Keith Niebuhr can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4156.



[Last modified: Jun 27, 2009 04:07 PM]

http://www.tampabay.com/news/transportation/roads/article1013746.ece
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
282 Posts
This road environmentally messed up the bay. It cut off most of the bay to the north, unlike the Howard which is mostly bridge which water flows underneath.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,153 Posts
This road is funny because of the quality too, the Pinellas side has the old shell like asphalt and is smooth on the Tampa side it's asphalt but there are rough spots from truck tires. Also in Pinellas they charge you to use the beach part now. It is a nice drive though, I use this road whenever I go to Tampa.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,967 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Not to mention the Tampa side of the beach is frequently closed due to poor water quality & health issues. My mom and I used to go down there for picnics back when I was like 5 years old.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,967 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Causeway to get a new bike path

http://www.tampabay.com/news/transp...ey-campbell-is-getting-a-bicycle-path/1158995

Miss the Friendship Trail? Courtney Campbell is getting a bicycle path
By Mike Brassfield, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Friday, March 25, 2011

TAMPA — Ever since the crumbling Friendship Trail Bridge closed, bicyclists have had no way to pedal across Tampa Bay. Now transportation officials intend to change that by putting an 8-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail along the Courtney Campbell Parkway.

The 12-foot-wide trail will eventually hook up to the extended bicycle trail networks that already exist on both sides of the bay. Federal funding will pay for the $20 million job.

The Florida Department of Transportation is looking for feedback on the project at public hearings, including one in Tampa on Tuesday.

"This is a regional link between the trail systems on the Pinellas and Hillsborough sides," said DOT project manager Robin Rhinesmith. "Bicycle and pedestrian groups in both counties have been telling us this is something they need and want, especially since the Friendship Trail closed down."

The Friendship Trail Bridge, which was a bicycle and pedestrian link between Tampa and St. Petersburg using the old Gandy Bridge, closed in 2008. Engineers found that it was in danger of collapsing into Tampa Bay. They figured that even a temporary repair could cost up to $50 million.

The new Courtney Campbell trail will run along the south side of the parkway from Bayshore Boulevard in east Clearwater to Ben T. Davis Beach at the Tampa end of the causeway.

On the Pinellas side of the bay, it could eventually connect with Clearwater's Ream Wilson Trail, Rhinesmith said. That would connect it to the Pinellas Trail and the Progress Energy Trail.

In Hillsborough, it will link to the West Tampa Greenway, which will eventually connect via on-street bike lanes to the Upper Tampa Bay Trail, which hooks up with the Suncoast Parkway Trail to Pasco and Hernando counties.

The DOT plans to build the Courtney Campbell trail in three phases, beginning next year and finishing by 2016.

Most of the trail will simply be paved on the existing fill that was used to build the causeway. The trail is to sit between the road's guardrail and the causeway's seawall. A small maintenance road that runs along stretches of the parkway will be relocated so that it runs between the parkway and the trail, officials said.

Also, new bridges will be needed at two spots. Rhinesmith said the Courtney Campbell's existing bridges for motor vehicles aren't wide enough to add a trail. Officials plan to build a 500-foot bridge and a 3,500-foot bridge for the trail.

The Courtney Campbell trail was only a dream until the DOT secured $20 million in federal tax money to do the work, Rhinesmith said.

"This trail has been in the plans," she said. "It's been out there waiting for funding."



>>Fast facts

What do you think?

DOT officials will answer questions and listen to opinions from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Westin Tampa Bay, 7627 W Courtney Campbell Parkway, BluVu Room, Tampa.

By mail: People can submit written comments at the hearing or mail them to Ming Gao, Intermodal Systems Development Manager, FDOT-District 7, 11201 N McKinley Drive, MS 7-500, Tampa, FL 33612-6456.


[Last modified: Mar 23, 2011 04:27 PM]
 

·
Oh Hey!
Joined
·
7,177 Posts
After a Sunday trip on the CC starting at 6 pm and ending at 7:30 pm due to what I can only guess was a car accident, I wondered why they never made the side streets (for the beaches) emergency lanes to get cars around whatever is holding traffic up. Of course it would not get all the cars around and you have the issue where you would need a bridge to get over where the big bridge is located, but that issue can settled with a draw bridge that is only operated during major traffic jams due to a car accident or another incident not related to just plain traffic jams.

It was also fun seeing dozens of cars taking the right to the side street before the big bridge to only see them realize that there is no bridge to get them over and they had to do a U-turn and go all the way back where they turned off. :lol:
 

·
Senior Button Pusher
Joined
·
17,165 Posts
^Actually, there are side roads that one can use to pass a great number of cars, but the side roads do not go all the way through, and you can only access them at certain points. Miss your spot to get out, and you wind up having to go around and under (one of the bridge spans), and back the way you just came from.

I've used them before to shave at least 20-30 minutes off of waiting in stopped traffic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,153 Posts
I've been on the causeway and there have been jams because of the lights, all of the lights should be eliminated except the one at Rocky Point and on the Pinellas side the Christian college and Bayshore Dr to Safety Harbor and someday those should be overpasses or something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Some of the worst accidents on Courtney Campbell is at the boat ramp, even with the light that is there now. Take that light out and you'll see a rise in accidents for sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
282 Posts
Courtney Campbell Causeway resurfacing project starts Sunday

Clearwater, Florida -- The Florida Department of Transportation has announced a 5.3-mile resurfacing project on the Courtney Campbell Causeway will start on Sunday, April 22.

According to the FDOT, the resurfacing project will take place between the Pinellas County Line and Rocky Point Drive. The vehicle access road on the north side of SR 60 betwen the two roads will also be repaved.

Motorists should use caution as the pavement will be rough and the lanes may be uneven during the paving process.

The majority of the paving activities is expected to be completed by August.

The contractor working on this project will also be building a 5-foot sidewalk on the north side of SR 60 between Bay Harbor Drive and the Westin Resort driveway and a 12-foot multi-use trail on the south side of the road between the west end of Ben T. Davis Beach and the Bayport Drive exit.

Traffic signals and poles will be replaced with hurricane resistant ones at the boat ramp entrance and the Ben T. Davis Beach entrance. The guardrail will also be replaced throughout the project limits.

Lane closures are allowed between 8 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. This $8.4 million project is expected to be complete in the summer 2013.

http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/article/251277/8/Courtney-Campbell-Causeway-to-get-a-facelift

Exercise trail along Courtney Campbell part of $8.4 million project

http://www2.tbo.com/news/breaking-n...long-courtney-campbell-part-of-84--ar-393457/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
282 Posts
I just drove along the Courtney Campbell and noticed they sprayed a weed killer thing all along the highway on both sides. Half of the mangroves are dead now! The whole stretch looks like death. So it looks like instead of trimming they sprayed, which definitely went into the bay and killed God knows what. How do I find out why they did it and how it can be stopped in the future? There is no need to spray a weed killer on the water.
 

·
Oh Hey!
Joined
·
7,177 Posts
That's bullcrap. And that stretch of beaches is always closed off because of low oxygen levels and crap like this preventing people from even stepping their feet in the water. But yeah FDOT, go ahead and poison the water some more. And good luck getting the truthful answer. They'll tell you that it was some safe killing agent that has no affect whatsoever on animals and other vegetation besides mangroves.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top