Sunshine Skyway

The old bridge, which collapsed in a collision with a barge in 1980 was much closer to the water and it had lots of reassuring steel caging around the center of the bridge. The bridge now is about 200 feet over the water at its highest point and it has the same side rail that you find at your local interstate on-ramp. Why? for 244 million you think you could get a little protection. I guess they didn’t want to obstruct the amazing view, if you are stupid enough to take your eyes off the road and look. Still, a pretty incredible structure don’t you think? Far more impressive than a pyramid.


9 Responses to Sunshine Skyway

  1. Beautiful, yes, but it reminds me that our engineering isn’t as great as we think because when they were ready to join the north section and the south section..whoops! They were off an inch – so the completion was set back awhile. Still, the old one creeped me out, and this one doesn’t, and that’s a big deal. 🙂

  2. My dad would stop on the land portions of the old bridge to buy smoked mullet when we moved there in 65 or 66. I still remember the shack that looked like nothing more than plywood sheets and string. In my youth we would spearfish under the bridge using the pilings as resting places. It was a hard place to get caught in the current. On a few occasions we would drive to the middle portion of the bridge before it ramped up, dump out our fishing gear, drive back the end of the bridge and walk back to our gear, then climb over the edge to sit on the pipeline run under the bridge. We’d hang a lantern to just above the water surface and watch rays pass by.

    I also remember how they planted Oleander bushes on the land portions. Not long after the planting they installed signs to let the picnickers know that the Oleanders were poisonous and not good for hot dog sticks

  3. I hear you about the side rails. We drove over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge recently. It is not pretty like the Skyline Bridge but it is 10 feet higher. And those rails may come up to your waist when you’re standing on the Ochlockonee Bridge but they barely cover your ankles when you’re doing 60mph at 175′ above the bay.

    I miss them smoke mullets.

  4. I’m sure somebody will lawyer up on this issue. Do I smell a smoked mullet campaign for the Tallahassee race on September 12?

  5. yep Mingo, that was cool. We fished as kids off the old bridge and then again when it became the world’s largest default fishing pier. It seems I remember weird signs about the Oleander while crabbing on the south side.

  6. As a Manatee County kid, crossing the old bridge was quite a thrill, and as a flatlander that was a crazy, risky view. You never went over without a shiver and a comment about not wanting to be up there if it ever fell.

    When it actually fell we all shit our pants. The picture of that lone car, hanging off into space, was a nightmare come true.