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Designer pitches toll booth ideas

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 23, 2003

City Manager Chuck Coward unveiled three options for a new toll booth at the Treasure Island Causeway Bridge. One scenario calls for a six-lane bridge with "pass-only" lanes on the outsides.

"Treasure Island's preference is six lanes," Coward said. But because the toll plaza sits in the city limits of St. Petersburg, it will be up to that city to approve the project.

St. Petersburg transportation directors already have told Treasure Island they prefer a four-lane plaza and a one-story administration building. Coward is planning to meet at 7 p.m. Monday with St. Petersburg homeowners who live near the existing toll plaza. The meeting will take place at the Treasure Island Community Center, One Park Place.

Two other options provide for four lanes of traffic. All three possibilities include space for an approximately 1,000-square-foot administration building and 10 parking spaces for employees. Coward said it will be at least three months before a plan is selected.

Treasure Island owns the toll plaza property on the east side of the bridge along with a 100-foot right of way that stretches along Central Avenue to Park Street. The city obtained the property in a land swap in exchange for a parcel of beachfront land that it gave St. Petersburg at 112th Street and Gulf Boulevard.

The new toll plaza will be part of the $60-million causeway bridge-replacement project. The deteriorating 1939 structure is expected to be replaced by 2005. Construction on the two approach bridges -- one near downtown and one close to Park Street -- is scheduled to begin this year.

* * *

OPTION A: A four-lane plaza with a two-story toll booth.

OPTION B: A four-lane plaza with a one-story toll booth.

SIX LANES: A six-lane plaza. Treasure Island favors this approach, but St. Petersburg does not.

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