Damaged girder closes Gulf to Bay at U.S. 19 in Clearwater - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Damaged girder closes Gulf to Bay at U.S. 19 in Clearwater

Posted: Updated:
A photo from a viewer shows the damage to the U.S. 19 overpass. A photo from a viewer shows the damage to the U.S. 19 overpass.
CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) -

Clearwater city officials want people to avoid the intersection of U.S. 19 and Gulf to Bay Boulevard after a steel girder slipped out of place on U.S. 19, causing an accident.

Gulf to Bay Boulevard, which is also known as SR60, will remain closed in this area for 24 to 48 hours, according to city officials. This could impact the afternoon commute for people who drive to and from Tampa on Gulf to Bay Boulevard and the Courtney Campbell Causeway.

The accident happened around 1 p.m. An eyewitness told WFLA News Channel 8 that she was in her car at the intersection and looked over at the overpass and saw that one girder was lower than the others. She then saw a truck drive under the overpass and hit the girder.

A City of Clearwater spokesperson says that a two semi trucks clipped one of four steel girders on the U.S. 19 overpass. The girders were part of the old U.S. 19 overpass. A new overpass was built next to the old overpass, which is not used by drivers.

Clearwater city officials say the damaged steel girder is estimated to weigh 70 tons.

FDOT crews will remove the four girders from the old overpass over the next 24 to 48 hours. Steve Plastek, with the Hubbard Group, says the work will take 30 hours to complete.

Plastek says he does not know why the section bowed out and bent down. He added that it is too early to speculate on why this happened.

Gulf to Bay Boulevard will remain closed until the girders are removed. Drivers are urged to avoid the area and to expect delays.

Westbound Gulf to Bay drivers should use frontage road, which runs parallel to U.S. 19 and goes to Drew Street. Take a left at Drew Street which takes you along the other side of U.S. 19 and back to Gulf to Bay Boulevard.

Eastbound Gulf to Bay drivers should drive south to Belleair and then back to Gulf to Bay Boulevard.

The location of the accident is where two of the busiest roads in North Pinellas County intersect. Clearwater Mall and several restaurants are located in the area.

Stay with WFLA.com for updates about this breaking story.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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