For those who love the sight of Tampa Bay’s majestic Sunshine Skyway Bridge all lit up and colorful at night, the current look is not a good one.
As the Tampa Bay Times reported earlier this month, alert residents, boaters and motorists noticed the region’s best-known bridge had gone dark on one end — specifically, the side where the graceful yellow span connects across the water into Pinellas County.
While the Manatee County side of the Skyway turned colorful at dusk with thousands of arty colored LED lights that could be seen far and wide, the north end was suddenly unlit. This gave the iconic bridge a decidedly uneven, half-cheery look.
State transportation officials, who got calls and emails asking about the beloved bridge lights, blamed a damaged transformer. The lights on the Pinellas side, out since late September, were expected to be glowing again sometime around early December, a Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman said.
Now for more bad news.
Alert bridge-watchers recently noticed that the colored lights, installed last year on 1.7 miles of the 4.1 mile bridge, are now out on both ends.
Was Tampa Bay’s recent brush with Tropical Storm Eta to blame? Or just another item to add to the list that is 2020?
The latter, apparently.
State transportation department spokeswoman Kris Carson said that while they were trying to fix the damaged transformer that caused the Pinellas problem, the lights went off on the other side, too.
The good news, if you are a glass half-full kind of person, is that the Manatee side is expected to re-light up by Wednesday, and Pinellas within a month or so.
“2020, huh?” Carson said Monday.
Since they installed 1,800 LED lights on the bridge for the $15 million project last year, the Skyway has been lit up in the appropriate colors for assorted causes and events. In its latest incarnation, half the colored bridge lights were glowing red, white and blue to honor first-responders.
Fun fact about the Sunshine Skyway: The bridge may connect Pinellas and Manatee counties, but the center is technically Hillsborough County because the shipping channel passes under the center span of the bridge.