If you ever wondered what $15 million in federal money looks like, look no further than the new span that sits just south of the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
The new pedestrian bridge next to the causeway officially opened Monday.
"It's fantastic," said Jeffrey Hood of Clearwater.
"I think it's awesome. It took us about 30 minutes to go up and over the other side and all the way back," said Debbie Richards of Tampa.
The new bridge, paid for entirely by federal funds, is just under four miles long and at its apex sits 45 feet over the waters of Tampa Bay.
"I love it. It's beautiful scenery. People get out here and run; it's fantastic," said Hood.
For months, drivers on the Courtney Campbell watched as the bridge was built and more than a few people questioned why $15 million of their tax money was being used to pay for it.
"At first I thought, is this money worthwhile or well spent, given the way the economy is going? But we just had a great time. I think it'll add a lot to the community," said Richards.
Monday, you could see plenty of walkers and fishers on the bridge, but it may be the bicyclists who appreciate it the most.
"I think it's great; there's no traffic here," said Dave Zaccheo of St. Pete.
Biking on Tampa area roadways can be treacherous. On Labor Day, a couple on a tandem bicycle were victims of a hit and run while they rode their bike in Clearwater. Robert Lemon eventually died while Hilary Michalak still sits in the hospital.
Riders on the new "traffic-free" bridge say they love having a new, safe place to get on their bikes.
"People are rubbernecking all the time on Bayshore, and I just wanna get a good ride and this is the place to go," said Zaccheo.
"I think that's a big issue safety, it affords you being able to ride your bike without being molested by 5 o'clock traffic around here," added Hood.
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