Delays back up new bridge opening

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BY SUE ERWIN – The new swing bridge is still going through functionality testing as of press time, so residents and visitors shouldn’t expect it to be traveling on it until at least next week.

“It’s just not ready yet. We just had a construction meeting and the engineers are still testing the electrical aspects of it – it’s quite a complex project, said Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority Executive Director, Kathy Verrico.

Verrico added that since the bridge is still in the testing phase, it’s very difficult to understand exactly when it will ready to operate on a regular basis.

“We thought it might be ready this week, but there is still more testing that needs to be done. We are hoping that maybe next week it will be ready, but it’s impossible to say for sure,” Verrico said.

Traffic will continue to travel on the current swing bridge until the new bridge is complete.

GIBA will continue to operate based on a modified bridge opening schedule. This will continue until all traffic is transitioned to the new swing bridge. The bridge openings are based on boater request. If a boat is not present, the bridge will not open.

The bridge will open to vessel traffic on the hour from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will open at 4 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8 p.m. and

resume on the hour openings after 8 p.m.