Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Probably one of the things Victory guests anticipate and enjoy most when cruising with us is passing under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. As we head out of the marina towards the mouth of Tampa Bay, not too far off in the distance, the awe-inspiring Sunshine Skyway Bridge protrudes up from the gulf waters. But not until we pass under it do our guests truly realize the immensity of this grand structure.

One of the longest bridges in the United States, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a sight to behold. And if you think it’s amazing as you pass under or over it during the day, you’ll be enchanted when you experience it from the water at night. It’s simply magical, and something Victory guests look forward to seeing. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge has also become a popular destination for our sunset cruises.

There is a long history surrounding this architectural wonder. Originally constructed as a two-lane steel cantilever bridge in 1954, connecting Pinellas and Manatee counties, a second span was added in 1971 allowing for two lanes in both directions. Unfortunately, the bridge was destroyed in 1980 when a freighter ran into a pier during a fierce storm.

Construction on the new Sunshine Skyway Bridge began in 1982. The new bridge, which reopened in 1987, is almost all concrete and steel, with a continuous pre-stressed cable-stayed main span making it the longest cable-stayed concrete bridge in the world. Considering what happened to the old bridge, safety was the primary focus; the new bridge is much higher, rising to 190 feet above the water for safe passage underneath. To mimic rays of sunshine, the cable cases are painted bright yellow.

  

For more information and history on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Click Here.

Skyway Bridge Reconstruction

You may also enjoy a book entitled “Skyway, The True Story of Tampa Bay’s Signature Bridge and The Man Who Brought It Down” by Bill DeYoung which tells the story of the bridge from original construction through the disaster that brought it down, to reconstruction of the new bridge.

 

 

 

 

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