Thirty-seven years this May is the grim anniversary of the collapse of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in St. Petersburg. In 1980, the southbound span, which opened in 1971, was destroyed when a freighter collided with the pier during a thunderstorm. This caused some 1,200 feet of the bridge to go tumbling into Tampa Bay, taking six cars, a truck and a Greyhound bus with it. In all, 35 people were killed. Only one man survived the bridge collapse.
Liability was later deemed to be on the shoulders of the shipping company, though it called into question the structural integrity of bridges statewide. These are the kinds of incidents one must anticipate: Crashes, natural disasters and everyday erosion.