Sunshine Skyway closed for a record three days - FOX 13 News

Sunshine Skyway closed for a record three days

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The last time the Sunshine Skyway Bridge was closed for one day was back in 2001, during Tropical Storm Gabrielle.

The last time the Skyway was closed for more than one day? Never.

"It will remain closed until the winds die down," said Sgt. Steve Gaskins, with the Florida Highway Patrol.

Anytime tropical winds reach 49 mph, authorities close the bridge.

Sgt. Gaskins says with Debby stalling in the Gulf, strong, gusty winds have made it too dangerous to keep the bridge open.

"A gust of wind can blow a higher-type vehicle to the side, cause a crash and then we have the whole road way blocked down, and it's just not safe," Gaskins said.

More than 52,000 people use the Skyway bridge everyday. Barbara Frank of Bradenton is one them.  She had to take Interstate 75 to get to Tampa because the Skyway was closed.

The detour was inconvenient, but it beats the alternative.

"It's a nuisance but it was alright. I'd rather not do the bridge," she said.

But the Skyway wasn't the only bridge affected. Monday, portions of the Courtney Campbell Causeway were closed, and all eight lanes of the Howard Frankland were briefly closed because of strong winds and possible flooding.

FHP is in charge of some of the major Bay area  bridges and they make the final call on whether they should remain open or not.

"Highway patrol, if we consider the bridge unsafe to pass, we are going to close it," Gaskins said.

Bradenton resident Frank Filosa agrees—safety first.

"If the winds are that heavy, it's the right thing to do on any bridge. You get these small cars and 70 mile per hour winds could just turn them," Filosa said.

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