PINELLAS COUNTY – The old Pinellas Bayway bridge became part of the Pinellas County’s artificial reef system in the Gulf of Mexico over the summer.
About 12,500 tons of bridge material from the demolition of the old Bayway bridge went to the South County Reef. The deployments began in May and were completed by mid-September. The bridge material was donated by Orion Marine Group Inc., who was contracted by the Florida Department of Transportation to demolish the old Bayway bridge and construct a new four-lane high level bridge.
The Indian Shores and Treasure Island II reefs also received some new material; each received 50 large reef balls. The project was funded in part through a grant from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to provide new fishing and diving opportunities.
The reefs provide valuable underwater habitats for marine life. There are 43 reef sites along the Gulf coast of Pinellas County from Tarpon Springs to St. Pete Beach, located from 200 yards to 38 miles offshore, and one in Tampa Bay located northeast of the St. Petersburg Municipal Pier.
The Pinellas County Artificial Reef Program is managed by Pinellas County Solid Waste in coordination with state and federal agencies. Visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADMQKeQhPZo to see how the old Pinellas Bayway bridge became part of Pinellas County’s artificial reef.
For more information, visit www.pinellascounty.org/reef or call (727) 464-7500.