The Friendship TrailBridge is a recreational bridge spanning Tampa Bay from Tampa to the East and St. Petersburg to the West and jointly owned by Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
June 30, 2009
Public Meetings on Friendship TrailBridge Being Held in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties
Hillsborough and Pinellas counties are seeking input on alternatives for the future of the Friendship TrailBridge. The counties received a follow-up inspection report for the Friendship TrailBridge in May. The inspection and tests confirmed the initial reports that girders of the bridge were heavily corroded and broken. Several options and their cost were provided in the report that included repair, replacement and/or demolition of all or portions of the bridge.
The full report, along with graphics of proposed options, is available here.
Two public meetings will be held, one in Pinellas County and one in Hillsborough County. Following the Hillsborough County meeting, the Friendship TrailBridge Oversight Committee will make its recommendation to the two County Commissions.
The dates, times and locations of the meetings will be:
Date: Tuesday, July 14
Time: 4 p.m. presentation
Place: Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center1800 Weedon Drive N.E., St. Petersburg, FL 33702
Date: Wednesday, July 15
Time: 7 p.m. presentation & decision on recommendation
Place: Jan Platt Regional Library, 3910 South Manhattan Avenue, Tampa, FL 33611
All meeting facilities are ADA compliant. For additional assistance, call Steve Valdez at (813) 307-8384 (TTY: (813) 301-7173).
Residents can submit a comment through July 14, 2009, at this website or by mailing it to: Pinellas County Planning Department, Attn: Friendship TrailBridge, 600 Cleveland Street, Suite 750, Clearwater, FL 33755.
For more information, please call Steve Valdez, Quality Assurance/Customer Satisfaction, Public Works Department, at (813) 272-5275.
Para información, llamar al (813) 272-5275.
May 26, 2009 - Follow-up Report on Friendship Trailbridge Received
Hillsborough and Pinellas counties' Public Works Departments have received the follow-up inspection report and estimated costs for the Friendship Trailbridge from engineering firms Kisinger Campo & Associates and SDR Engineering Consultants. This report was requested after an initial report in December found major structural flaws in the bridge that required that the entire structure be closed.
The follow-up report included:
- inspection and invasive testing of the lower spans of the bridge on each side confirmed the initial reports that girders were heavily corroded and broken.
- significant repairs would be required from the entrances of the bridge up to the ends of the catwalks on both sides. A full repair of the entire bridge, in order to reopen it to recreational use, would cost $15 million, but would only extend the life of the bridge an additional ten years before it would need to be demolished.
- repairing just the spans from the entrances to the ends of the catwalks would cost $10 million, which would include demolishing the high span. But the repaired sections would still only be structurally sound for 10 years, and require eventual demolition.
- demolishing the entire bridge and building two new fishing piers now at either end of the bridge in its current location would cost $17.5 million. These piers might eventually need to be relocated when a new Gandy Bridge is built, after the current one outlives its life span.
- demolishing the entire bridge and building new fishing piers off the new Gandy Bridge after it is constructed would cost $13 million to demolish the bridge now and an additional estimated $6.5 million to build the new piers in the future.
Read Full Report
View Rehabilitation Options
Oversight Committee meeting Agenda
This report will be presented today to the Friendship TrailBridge Oversight Committee at 1 p.m. at the Jan Platt Library, 3901 S. Manhattan Ave., Tampa. Public meetings will be scheduled in June in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties to allow residents the opportunity to give feedback on the report. The Committee is then expected to give a recommendation to the two County Commissions on the direction to be taken.
December 2008 NOTICE: Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties Close Entire Friendship TrailBridge Following Report
With the need to preserve public safety, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties closed the entire Friendship TrailBridge, including the catwalks, on Dec. 22, 2008. The decision to close is based on the engineering report from outside engineering firms Kisinger Campo & Associates and SDR Engineering Consultants.
The engineering report warns of the potential collapse of any portion of the bridge. Corrosion and erosion of the reinforcing steel are the key concerns. In addition, the report includes the following:
- The report recommends closing of the entire bridge. The decision to re-open the ends of the bridge may be made after a further, more detailed investigation; and
- Widespread and significant corrosion, concrete section loss and broken pre-stressing steel bars near the ends of the girders cannot be remedied with current repair methods and will be extremely cost prohibitive to repair, in their opinion; and
- Cost estimates range from $4.1 million to repair the spans on either end of the bridge that are currently open; $30 million to repair the entire bridge; $12 million to demolish the bridge portion only; and $81.8 million to demolish the old bridge and build a replacement.
The Friendship TrailBridge Oversight Committee meets regularly to discuss concerns and provide recommendations to both counties. Committee members are public officials and representatives from the departments of Park, Planning and Public Works of Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, City of Tampa, City of St. Petersburg, Florida Dept. of Transportation and the Friendship Trail Corporation. Review recent meeting notes at: (link to posting of meeting notes forthcoming). Review the list of upcoming meetings at: (posting of meeting schedule forthcoming).
Fundraising has been led by the Friendship Trail Corp., the non-profit group established prior to the Friendship TrailBridge’s opening in 1999.
History of the Friendship TrailBridge
Hillsborough County provides numerous recreational opportunities in more than 70,000 acres of parkland and 42 year-round recreation centers. Please visit Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department at www.hillsboroughcounty.org/parks.
Within Pinellas County, the public is invited to explore and enjoy its more 4,000 acres of beaches, lakes and green expanses as well as playgrounds, learning centers and convenience facilities. Please review Pinellas County’s Parks & Recreation Department by visiting www.pinellascounty.org/parks.
Find many fishing destinations and piers, miles of recreational trails and thousands of acres of parkland at each county’s Web site.
More information specific to recreational trails can also be found at the following sites: