Gulf to Bay at US 19 back open

Clearwater, Florida -- Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard reopened to all traffic around just before midnight Wednesday night, after crews finished repairs to a damaged overpass.

The girders for the old US 19 overpass had to be removed after two 18-wheeler trucks hit the low hanging bridge while driving along Gulf-to-Bay Tuesday, and their roofs were scraped off.

"At first we did think the trucks damaged the bridge," said Kris Carson of FDOT. "We did investigate and realized that was not the case. We have multiple trucks that hit our overpasses. It's not unusual when they are over height or over weight, or some kind of equipment in the back that is raised in the up position."

FDOT said they believe the downward arching overpass might have been caused by last week's demolition process. Crews tore off the concrete where vehicles used to drive. That left the four girders underneath. One of those girders, each weighing about 110 tons, started to hang so low the two trucks driving underneath it -- like they do almost every day -- were damaged by the bottom-hanging portion.

FDOT said the last time the unused bridge was inspected was in March and the report stated there were no problems with it.

"That is why we are thinking the damage might have happened during the demolition a few days ago," said Carson.

FDOT told 10 News it is at fault, along with the contractor. It said all four girders have now been moved, and the intersection should be reopened by 11 p.m. or midnight.

PHOTOS: Two 18-wheelers hit low-hanging bridge at US 19 and Gulf to Bay


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