After slipups, a showpiece

By Times Staff
Published August 18, 2005

After 1,268 days, after concrete twisted and roadway fell, after a lawsuit and threats and angst, the $69.3-million Clearwater Memorial Causeway bridge opens this morning - 514 days late.

Crews will push aside barriers blocking the bridge's eastbound lanes and a vanguard of city vehicles will make the inaugural trip.

Westbound lanes will open Friday.

For more than three years, passers-by have watched the sleek, 74-foot-tall span rise, and fall, and rise again. They followed the pitfalls, engineering flaws and construction gaffes. Now for the first time, they'll cross the 2,340-foot bridge, taking in its curves, its smell, its views.

Clearwater gets its showpiece, after all.