The original Skyway bridge replaced a ferry that went from Point Pinellas to Piney Point.
The original Sunshine Skyway Bridge was the site of a number of tragic events, including the collision of the US Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn and outbound freighter Capricorn in 1980 which claimed 23 Coast Guardsmen’s lives, and a structural collapse caused by a collision with the bridge support by the inbound freighter Summit Venture in 1980 which killed 35 people and ultimately ended the bridge spans’ useful life.
The new Skyway is named the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the bridge is a total length of 21,877 feet (4.1 miles or approximately 6.67 km). It connects Pinellas County and Manatee County, constrution of the current bridge began in 1982, and the completed bridge was dedicated on February 7, 1987. The new bridge was opened to traffic on April 20, 1987.
The Travel Channel rated the Sunshine Skyway #3 in its special on the “Top 10 Bridges” in the World. The bridge is considered the “flag bridge” of Florida.