BY LIZA STROUT - A special meeting was held by the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority board on Wednesday, April 3, at the Bridge Authority’s headquarters at the north end of the island.
The meeting was called to give clarification to several procedures, a matter that will become more important as board members begin to travel for the summer, while at the same time south bridge construction comes to an end, center bridge construction goes into overdrive and preparations begin for the start of the new swing bridge.
The board also decided that they would not be using contract templates from Lee County when writing up documents for the swing bridge contract, due to the confusion that their use has caused in the construction of the fixed bridges. The Lee County contracts were designed to be used by an agency with many departments and levels of supervision, and have many provisions that do not apply to a small organization like GIBA.
Also discussed was the plaque being designed to commemorate the building of the new bridges. The engraver has recommended that it be made of stainless steel or titanium, to stand up to the corrosive salt water.
The board commended the quick action on the part of staff in preventing a breakdown of the bridge. On March 23, an employee noticed an unusual noise when the bridge opened and closed, and relayed the information to the office.
The office staff quickly went into action, calling Executive Director Jim Cooper. Accounting Manager Kathy Banson-Verrico made the decision to close the bridge to boat traffic, a decision that Cooper backed as soon as he was reached. The Coast Guard was notified promptly, and the next morning the GIBA maintenance staff was under the bridge doing an inspection. They found a damaged gear and replaced it, returning the bridge to service within four hours.
The prompt action on the part of the staff prevented a major breakdown, which could have happened when the swing span was in an open position and would have taken days to repair, cutting the island off from the mainland.
The Coast Guard lauded the quick action and clear communication of the authority.
There will be a Governance Committee meeting held on April 18 at 1:30 p.m. at the GIBA Administration Building.
E-mail (required, but will not display)
Notify me of follow-up comments
Click for a larger view