The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) conducted a Project Development & Environment (PD&E) study to evaluate alternative improvements along Belleair Beach Causeway Bridge, from east of Gulf Boulevard to west of Indian Rocks Road, in Pinellas County.
The project is located in the western portion of central Pinellas County. The study limits extended from east of Gulf Boulevard (CR 183) in Belleair Shore to west of Indian Rocks (CR 697) in Belleair Bluffs. The length of the proposed project was approximately 1.6 miles.
A public hearing was held on September 30, 2004.
The existing roadway typical section for the Belleair Beach Causeway is a two-lane rural roadway with 11-ft travel lanes and paved shoulders that vary in width from 4 ft. to 8 ft. This typical section applies between the west and east bridges and from the east bridge to the east end of the causeway. The Belleair Beach Causeway includes two bridges over Clearwater Harbor. The west (relief) bridge (No. 154208) is a fixed-span bridge located on the west end of the causeway. The main (east) bridge (No. 154209) includes a bascule span over the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). Both bridges are 32 ft. – 2 in. wide and carry one lane of traffic in each direction. The bridges include two 11-ft. lanes with a clear sidewalk width of less than 4 ft. The posted speed limit is 30 mph.
The proposed improvements would maintain two lanes but upgrade the roadway and bridges to current design standards. The proposed typical sections include 12-ft. travel lanes, 8-ft. sidewalks, minimum 4-ft. bicycle lanes, and turn lanes on the roadway, with an enclosed drainage system. The proposed improvements include a high-level, fixed-span bridge with a 74-ft. vertical clearance over the ICW. The proposed horizontal alignment of the high-level structure is generally parallel to and slightly north of the existing structure, thus allowing traffic to be maintained during construction. The west bridge over the relief channel is to be replaced with a new low-level fixed-span structure using stage construction. Stormwater management ponds are also included as part of the proposed improvements.
The capacity of the roadway and bridges is not going to change because additional laneage is not proposed. However traffic operations are expected to improve because the proposed improvements will eliminate delays associated with bridge openings and will provide left-turn storage lanes at the boat ramp/beach access entrance.