■ BY SUE ERWIN
The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority truck scale is in the process of being replaced. The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority truck scale is in the process of being replaced.
The scale was originally installed in 2000.
Removal of the old scale began on Monday, July 31, just as Tropical Storm Emily was breezing along the west coast of Florida.
The new parts were set in place on Wednesday, Aug. 2, and the concrete decks will be poured on Monday, Aug. 7.
GIBA Executive Director Kathy Banson-Verrico said the concrete will require about 21 days to cure, and during that time the electronics will be replaced.
“The scale is set to reopen on Monday, Aug. 28 at 5:45 a.m., and the expected cost of the project is $69.973.62,” Banson-Verrico said.
During the scale closure the following procedures are in place: Accepted travel times for all large vehicles (three or more axles) from Monday through Friday will be from 5:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Large vehicles (three or more axles) arriving outside of the posted hours will be turned around. All large vehicles (three or more axles) having a proven weight history with GIBA will be permitted to go through one of the other toll lanes without a weight ticket.
All large vehicles (three or more axles) without an established weight history with GIBA will be required to provide a weight ticket (dated the same day) from a State-certified weight scale proving that the gross vehicle weight is less than 80,000 pounds.
GIBA staff has the right, at any time, to require any vehicle to provide a State-certified weight ticket.
The swing bridge will be closed to boat traffic from Monday, Aug. 7 at 7 a.m. through Monday, Aug. 14 at 7 a.m.
Over the past year there have been issues with pinion movement during bridge openings. According to Banson-Verrico, during the current closure the machinery contractor will be onsite to install dowel pins in each lower bearing. This repair process requires hours of precise drilling. Therefore, it is imperative that the bridge remains stationary during the repair. The channel closure has been approved by the United States Coast Guard.
“As always, we will do our best to minimize traffic delays, and we appreciate your patience during this project,” Banson-Verrico said.