Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Florida
The Sunshine Skyway has a dark past. It opened in 1987 but it is the second bridge of that name on the site. The first bridge, opened in 1954, collapsed in 1980 after a supporting column was struck by a giant freighter during a storm.
Buffeted by 70 miles per hours winds, the out-of-control ship caused the bridge’s southbound span to collapse, with 12oo feet of the road surface falling into the wild waters below. Several vehicles – including a Greyhound Bus – went with it. 35 people died. The surviving span was partially demolished and converted into a long fishing pier, and the current bridge was built.
No such tragedy has occurred here since, but sharing a name with its predecessor, the present bridge has a reputation for danger that has proved difficult to shake. Spanning Lower Tampa Bay, and linking St Petersburg and Terra Ceia, the Sunshine Skyway is a bridge that is much used. But given all that has passed here, you won’t want to linger long, and crossing during bad weather is not recommended.