GIBA swing bridge down over weekend

June 19, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

STAFF REPORT- The Boca Grande Swing Bridge suffered a malfunction at 3 p.m. on Friday June 12, and was closed to boat traffic. Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority staff worked to resolve the problem, and the bridge reopened to boat traffic Sunday, June 14 at 9 a.m.
GIBA Executive Director Kathy Banson-Verrico described the situation.
“Troubleshooting proves challenging during peak traffic times,” she said. “Based on the availability of the necessary staff and minimizing the negative impact to vehicular traffic, it was decided that the best time to trouble shoot would be Sunday morning. GIBA’s staff, engineer, and electrician were on site Sunday morning at 4:30 a.m. and systematically performed multiple openings to identify and correct the issue. During troubleshooting,  faulty heat sensors in one of the thermal overload units were detected and replaced  We are very grateful to those dedicated to providing excellent service to both GIBA and the community.”
 What does that mean in layman’s terms?
There are two motors that control the swing of the bridge. Each motor has a thermal overload unit. The thermal overload unit is responsible for “turning off” the motor to prevent damage if it detects the motor is running hot.
There are heat sensors on each thermal overload unit. When the heat sensors go bad, the thermal overload unit receives a faulty message to “turn off” the motor even though the motor is functioning properly.