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Sunshine Skyway Bridge

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge, officially known as the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge, is an iconic cable-stayed bridge on Florida’s west coast. This architectural marvel spans Tampa Bay and connects St. Petersburg in Pinellas County to Terra Ceia in Manatee County, serving as a critical part of Interstate 275 (I-275).


The bridge crosses the lower end of Tampa Bay, linking the Gulf of Mexico to the west with the city of Tampa to the northeast.


  • Total Length: The entire bridge, including its approaches, spans a total of 21,877 feet (about 4.1 miles or 6.7 kilometers).
  • Height: The bridge’s peak navigational clearance is 180 feet (55 meters), allowing large maritime vessels to pass underneath.
  • Completion: The current bridge opened to traffic on April 20, 1987.
  • Design: It features a cable-stayed main span, with the roadway held aloft by cables extending from two colossal pylons.
  • Awards: The design has earned the bridge several awards, including recognition from the American Institute of Steel Construction and the American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • History: It replaced an older cantilever bridge that was partially destroyed in 1980 when the freighter MV Summit Venture collided with a support column during a storm.

Website Link

For more information about the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, including its history and structural details, you might visit the Florida Department of Transportation’s website or a dedicated webpage about the bridge:

Florida Department of Transportation – Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Opening Hours

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is open 24 hours a day, year-round, as it is part of an interstate highway system.

Things to Do

Driving and Sightseeing

  • Scenic Drive: Take a drive over the bridge to enjoy breathtaking views of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Photography: There are rest areas on both the north and south sides of the bridge, which can serve as good spots for photography.

Fishing and Recreation

  • Fishing Piers: The old bridge’s remains have been converted into the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park, the longest fishing pier in the world.
  • Pier Facilities: Visitors to the piers can find bait shops, restrooms, and picnic areas.

Nearby Attractions

  • Beaches: Visit the beautiful beaches in the St. Petersburg and Sarasota areas.
  • Parks: Explore Fort De Soto Park, Egmont Key State Park, and other nearby nature reserves.

Tips For Visiting

  • Toll Payments: The bridge is tolled, so be prepared to pay the fee or use a SunPass.
  • Weather Conditions: High winds can sometimes affect travel over the bridge; check the weather and advisory signs.
  • Safety: Keep your eyes on the road while driving; the views can be distracting.
  • Fishing Pier Hours: If planning to visit the fishing piers, check for the current hours and any specific regulations.


The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is not only a vital transportation link but also a symbol of Florida’s ingenuity and commitment to blending infrastructure with natural beauty. The bridge offers a memorable driving experience with its sweeping vistas and serves as a fantastic spot for fishing and enjoying the coastal environment. Whether you’re passing through or visiting the area, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a must-see engineering feat and a testament to the resilience and spirit of the Sunshine State.

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