Park Blvd. Bridge, Indian Shores
The youngest of all Pinellas County drawbridges, the Park Blvd. Bridge was constructed and opened in 1981 connecting Indian Shores with Seminole and Pinellas Park to the east, not to mention Interstate 275, the far northeast St. Petersburg/Gandy area and Tampa via the Gandy Bridge. The Park Blvd. Bridge connected the missing final link in CR 694 which provides a continuous roadway to Pinellas Park at 66 St N (FL 693) and further east as FL 694. As CR 694 is a Pinellas County road, the Park Blvd. Bridge was constructed and is owned by Pinellas County.
When the Park Blvd. Bridge opened, it was originally called the 78th Avenue Bridge, so named for the street that goes east from the bridge to 113 St N where the name changes to Park Blvd. However, in order to alleviate any confusion from three names for Pinellas County's CR 694 and Florida DOT's FL 694, the Pinellas County Commission - acting on advice from the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) - decided to agree on just two names. The entire CR 694 as well as the part of FL 694 west of US 19, including the newly built bridge, would be named Park Blvd. while the part of FL 694 east of US 19 and continuing past 4 St N in St. Petersburg as US 92 would be named Gandy Blvd. When this happened, the name of the bridge was changed from the 78th Avenue Bridge to the Park Blvd. Bridge as we know today.
There was a toll collected for use of the Park Blvd. Bridge when it opened in 1981; the toll was probably 50 cents. When the bonds for financing construction of the bridge were paid off, the tolls were lifted around 1991 and the toll booths and plaza were removed sometime thereafter. What stands today as a reminder of the toll plaza that used to be there is the administration building on the south side of Park Blvd. on the east side of the bridge as well as the metal/rubber fixtures in the road where the toll booths once stood called treadles (toll classification counters).
The Park Blvd. Bridge is one of the few drawbridges in Pinellas County that can be opened on demand by the boat sounding the horn signal or contacting the bridge tender on marine VHF Channel 9. Moreover, the Park Blvd. Bridge has an interstate highway look and feel to it when you drive across even though drawbridges are not allowed on the Interstate Highway System save for very few exceptions.