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    Bridge route spares dog beach

    By Times staff writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published July 10, 2002

    Pinellas County will move forward with plans to replace the Belleair Causeway Bridge along a route 75 feet to the north of the existing bridge, county commissioners said Tuesday.

    That route is the one that most residents favored and that county engineers recommended. It does not disrupt the dog beach on the south side of the beach.

    It also stays away from the Harbor Bluffs neighborhood, where two fingers of land end just 300 feet from the bridge.

    Commissioners still must decide whether the bridge will be a high fixed span or a lower drawbridge. That decision likely will be controversial, as well. Advocates for a fixed span say it would help traffic move faster, especially in emergencies. But others say that a fixed span would be ugly and that a medium-height drawbridge wouldn't have to be opened much.

    The bridge will cost $32-million to $44-million. The county has planned to spend $15-million of Penny for Pinellas sales tax funds to build it. County officials are working on getting federal grants to cover the rest of the project's cost.

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