Friday, January 8, 2010

The Howard Frankland Bridge and Cold Weather

The format of this blog post may be a little different as I am using Microsoft Word 2007's publish to blog feature, rather than writing the blog directly while logged into Blogger. You know, Microsoft inserts newer features and capabilities into their software such as Word 2007. So, I noticed that there is a blog posting feature which integrates seamlessly with Blogger and I thought I would give it a try.

Now for some important business, with the cold weather impacting the Tampa/St. Petersburg area this weekend (9-10 January 2010) and its potential for icing on overpasses and bridges including the Howard Frankland Bridge.

First, and foremost, Florida is not used to the problems with overpasses and bridges in cold weather like other states. During the winter months most state DOT's add a layer of salt to bridge decks in order to improve traction. Being a state that rarely sees snow, Florida does not put down salt on its bridges and overpasses. This is why in some states you may see a diamond warning sign which is unfolded in winter which lets motorists know that the bridge ices before the road.

This weekend it is supposed to get real cold, so much that it may break records and there is a possibility of sleet and ice, according to Bay News 9. According to the article, if you see any sign of ice on a bridge or overpass, drive with extreme caution or seek an alternate route.

The last time this has ever happened was back in 1977. After all, the Internet as we know today was not around yet and the Howard Frankland Bridge was just the single four-lane span that opened in 1960. I remember from those days when the Howard Frankland was closed due to ice that formed on the bridge. After all, motorist safety comes first especially when it comes to icing on a bridge.

The best way to keep safe during this weekend of cold weather is to plan ahead and leave early to get to your destination on time. Also make sure that your vehicle is in good condition for the cold weather and keep your gas tank full to avoid condensation in the tank. And make sure to dress appropriately for the weather, especially if in the event your vehicle breaks down and you have to wait in the cold.

Were you here in the Tampa Bay area when the cold spell of 1977 took place? I would like to hear from you – simply leave me a reply with your experiences!