I have pictures of us travelling over the section that collapsed while on a family vacation in the 1970's. I remember going back in 1985 and seeing the original bridge handling two way traffic just as it did when it was built. As expected, traffic was heavy, commute was slow, and fares were very high. Driving past the collapsed area was surreal when you realized how far all those folks had fallen. They were in the process of building the replacement bridge at that time and I have a photo of that as well. Perhaps soon I can scan them all and include them in this site.
I also have a book detailing the disaster somewhere in my collection. Sad thing is the fog the morning it happened. Those that went over the edge never had a chance to see it coming. One car managed to stop right at the edge on a section that was hanging at a 45 degree tilt. One of the idiots from that car had the balls to go back to the car after evacuating so he could retrieve his golf clubs out of the trunk. Unreal. The Greyhound bus was smashed and looked like it had broke it's back with it's frame bent. I believe the only survivor was in a Chevy El Camino.
The southbound span of the original bridge (the one built in 1969) was destroyed on May 9, 1980, when the freighter MV Summit Venture collided with a pier (support column) during a storm, sending over 1200 feet (366m) of the bridge plummeting into Tampa Bay. The collision caused six automobiles and a Greyhound bus to fall 150 feet (46 m), killing 35 people.
One man, Wesley MacIntire, survived the fall when his pickup truck landed on the deck of the Summit Venture before falling into the bay
There is currently a movement to fight the closing of the Skyway fishing piers at this website (http://skywaypiers.proboards80.com/index.cgi).Come join the movement and hit the link for the online petitionand sign it. If you dont we may lose an historic piece of Florida/ Tampa Bay that we need to keep for our future generation to enjoy.
It seems a terrible waste, to destroy the Living Monument/Memorial, to those who died, (and their surviving relatives, and friends), on that Fateful Day (May 9, 1980).
A sign of the times indeed.
Budget Shortfalls, and Beurocratic Loopholes.
How sad is it the families who have built traditions, and enjoyed the benefits of this glorious, and magnificent "State Park", will soon lose another example of what is slowly becoming a thing of the past in todays society!
Thank goodness our Forefathers and Ancestors, had the good sense to save what little we have left now of our past, and God Bless Future generations, when they look back and realize the history that was lost, in this monumental blunder!
In the Report from FDOT, it says that their Engineer had determined the Bridge was no longer worth saving (not cost effective)...
I say that decision should have been left to the citizens of the Greater Tampa Bay, and the State Of Florida!
Jay H. Lehman Jr.
Did you know that they are planning to close the old bridge's east side and intend to demolish it in the near future. I though this bridge fell under the Historical places, bridges in FL. Is there some action that can be taken to stop F-DOT from proceding with this?