Driving Over Sunshine Skyway Bridge to St. Petersburg, Florida
Sunshine Skyway Bridge Florida spans 5 plus miles of unique travel history between St Pete and Bradenton in a breathtaking drive ascending 190 ‘ over water.
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a beautiful drive into the sky across sparkling blue water connecting 2 Southwest Florida cities. It is 29,040 feet long, outspanning other famous bridges such as Akashi Kaikyo, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Unique Travel History of Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida
The bridge history is notable for the crash of the Summit Venture on May 9, 1980, in the early morning fog. This ship toppled half of the 1971 steel cantilever bridge causing rush hour traffic to plunge suddenly into the Gulf of Mexico. A bus driver was unable to see the end of the bridge and drive off the broken edge of the bridge into the sea. Thirty-five people were assumed instantly killed but one driver clung in a death-defying balance on the edge of the bridge and survived.
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge was Rebuilt in 1987
Local drivers were initially hesitant, some for months, to drive across the new bridge although it was indeed a beautiful structure with yellow cables extending up toward a usually blue sky and turquoise water below. The ascent from St Petersburg Florida now reaches a point skyward where the rest of the bridge is momentarily invisible before it curves downward, ending any need for drawbridges. Part of the old bridge remains as a popular fishing pier called the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park. There are restrooms, air conditioning, and snacks and bait available. The bridge is a toll bridge and the fee includes the fishing pier on either side. No license is needed to fish off the pier.
Skyway Bridge Highest in Eastern US for Suicide Attempts
A sad by- note about the bridge is according to Jumper Pool the skyway bridge ranks #4 in the US for those who jump to their deaths. The bridge had been a popular spot for suicide jumps with few survivors. One survivor was a dog who somehow went off the bridge with its master who did die. Deterrents now are in place with cables restricting movement as well as call boxes placed strategically along the bridge. News reports of suicide jump attempts are discouraged and most deaths go sadly and quietly un- remarked other than by those left behind.
View from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Florida
The view is magnificent entering the bridge past luxury condos, palm trees, homes, and Holiday inn on the St Pete side. Travel the bridge and see the sea and sky meet along with birds freely soaring over the cables. The Bradenton side is separated from tropical Long Boat key and Anna Maria barrier islands. There is also a fishing pier developed from the old sunshine sky bridge.
Crossing the sunshine skyway bridge isn’t an isolated act of travel but an experience in history sharing the travel of those who didn’t make it across and those who voluntarily chose not to complete the passage. The bridge is more than its dark side but represents perseverance and beauty and is a structure to experience. It is also driving high into the sky and then returning safely to land.