FDOT moving ahead with new solution to stormwater pollution
Work on a “look-around” solution to water quality continues at the Florida Department of Transportation where nearly all necessary permits have been completed for a 239-foot bridge that will enhance tidal flow to the bay section north of the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
Originally proposed as part of the Tampa Bay Express project, the bridge is expected to lead to water quality improvements and the anticipated seagrass gains will now be used as mitigation for multiple FDOT projects across the region. The $10.5 million project will be less expensive than the traditional go-to retention pond solution to stormwater management in a region where available land is growing scarcer – and more expensive.
FDOT consultants expect it to have a significant impact on the water quality in the area north of the causeway where seagrasses species are limited because of low salinity. The cut in the bridge is expected to nearly double tidal flows to the section of Old Tampa Bay north of the Courtney Campbell Causeway, increasing the potential for other seagrasses to recruit into what is currently a monoculture of wigeon grass (Ruppia maritima), a pioneer species more tolerant of lower salinity but a less extensive root system.