Harbour Island residents brace for big traffic headaches

Tampa city officials say the project needs to move forward to replace the road's concrete surface and to install a waterproof membrane to stop leaking to a garage underneath

TAMPA, FL (WFLA)- The Harbour Island bridge is the main way residents and visitors go from downtown Tampa to the island. But it’s now closed for repairs, and that will be an inconvenience to Harbour Island residents like Trae Utterback. When Utterback learned the project would last five months he said,”I heard that its not going to be finished until December, but unfortunately we will deal with it.”

The project will force Harbour Island residents and visitors to use the only other bridge that leads to the island near Channelside, creating traffic headaches. Jean Duncan with Tampa’s Transportation department said,”We have received a few phone calls, but to be honest we actually installed a camera at the intersection and we can observe the traffic on a daily basis.”

Sandy Cowley uses the health club on the island regularly, she was amazed when she found out the project won’t be done for months. “Oh that’s a long time. okay that will be everyday. that will be a problem then because i come everyday,” added Cowley.

The city started preliminary work on the one and half million dollar project earlier this week. And while vehicles won’t be allowed on the bridge, people will still be able to walk across. But some businesses on the island, like Jackson’s Bistro are still fearful they could hurt economically.

Christopher McVety the president of Jackson’s added, “I just had our controller revise our budget by double digits as far as our revenue so I think that is saying something that we are concerned and this definitely is going to a serious hit.” City officials say the project needs to move forward to replace the road’s concrete surface and to install a waterproof membrane to stop leaking to a garage underneath.

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