Traylor is part of a joint venture selected to replace the northbound I-275 Howard Frankland Bridge connecting Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida over Old Tampa Bay. The Florida Department of Transportation project will ultimately be the largest bridge ever constructed in Florida.
The new three-mile bridge will be built to the north of the current southbound interstate bridge. The project design will feature four southbound general purpose lanes, two southbound express lanes, two northbound express lanes, as well as a shared use path and accommodations for transportation via light rail system.
The existing southbound bridge will be converted to the new northbound I-275. When complete, the current northbound bridge will be removed. Construction began in the fall of 2020 with completion in 2026. The newly built connection will add capacity and mobility to account for future growth of the Tampa/St. Pete region and will allow for improved emergency management scenarios and hurricane evacuations.
Traylor constructed the southbound bridge structure from 1987-1992. Traylor’s experience building the 1980s bridge structure played a key role in capturing the project.
A vast fleet of marine equipment has been mobilized to the site, including Traylor barges, tugboats, and cranes. The range of geotechnical conditions across the span of the waterway present a challenge with equipment. In response, the team strengthened the tooling to stand up to the ground conditions.
There is great concern for wildlife, especially with the prevalence of manatees and several smaller endangered species in the surrounding area – which can be disturbed by the noise emitted by the pile drivers. The joint venture has enlisted the help of two full-time manatee observers to monitor the waterway and maintains a specific distance between each pile driving rig to prevent magnification of the sound. In addition, each shift begins with a soft start, where the pile driving hammer is dropped several times to scatter nearby sea life before operations begin.