TAMPA — Six months after Tampa International Airport closed an aircraft taxiway bridge over a service road, airport officials continue to negotiate with a contractor to repair cracks in the structure north of the main terminal.
“The Aviation Authority believes the bridge is unsafe,” spokeswoman Emily Nipps said. “Some of the cracks are several feet long, but I’m not sure how deep. They look like thin cracks in a sidewalk.”
The $6.5 million taxiway bridge built by Winter Park-based Hubbard Construction Co., opened in October 2010. Airport officials noticed cracks in September 2012 and hired an engineering firm to analyze the cracking, Nipps said.
After noticing more cracking earlier this year, the airport closed the taxiway bridge in March, she said.
Hubbard could not be reached for comment.
The structure is along the northernmost of two primary east-west taxiways. The taxiway allows airliners to cross to and from airside gates on the east side of the airport and the longest runway, which is on the west side.
“It’s not necessarily causing (flight) delays, but it’s a safety and efficiency issue,” Nipps said. “The closure mainly affects our air traffic controllers and our pilots, who must stay in constant communication to ensure the safety of the ground vehicles using the service road, as well as the ground traffic of other planes.”