Transportation officials making progress on new Howard Frankland Bridge

The Florida Department of Transportation is closing out 2022 with a lot checked off its to-do list for the Howard Frankland Bridge replacement project in the Tampa Bay area.

The project has come a long way since FOX 13 last checked in on the progress in February. It has gone from mainly tall and thin concrete pilings at different lengths in the water, to more beams and the structure of a bridge.

"It takes a while for it to see any true progress, and now you’re really seeing the fruits of their labor," said Greg Deese, FDOT’s resident engineer and project manager. "The bridge has progressed to the point now that we’re also flying beams and pouring deck. So, it’s starting to look like a real bridge especially on the Pinellas side."

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Deese said the contractor made it through two hurricanes without major delays.

Ongoing construction of new Howard Frankland Bridge

Ongoing construction of new Howard Frankland Bridge (Courtesy: FDOT)

"Each time a storm was even threatening the bay, we would move our barges far enough away that the bridges and the barges stayed safe," said Deese.

The new bridge will have a pedestrian path and lanes to carry southbound traffic from Hillsborough County into Pinellas County. Then, the current southbound bridge will switch to northbound traffic and the existing northbound bridge will be demolished.

According to FDOT, there are 28 cranes, mostly in the water, and 80 barges are moving supplies into the bay. About 274 workers are on the project, almost halfway through the job. 

Rendering shows new Howard Frankland Bridge with pedestrian path.

Rendering shows new Howard Frankland Bridge with pedestrian path. (Courtesy: FDOT)

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FDOT said about 73% of pilings are completed, or 2,209 precast concrete piles out of 3,014. As for the middle support structures of the bridge, FDOT said workers have placed 34,180 cubic yards of substructure concrete out of 74,665 cubic yards total or about 46% of what’s needed.

"The next six months will be the busiest in terms of the number of activities. We’ll finish up the foundations, all the pile driving, and you’ll start to see all the beams being set and a lot more deck being poured," said Deese.

It will look closer and closer to a finished bridge.

"We’re really looking to wrap up the job by the end of 2025 and even have traffic on the new bridge before that," said Deese.