What Is a Causeway?

Definition of Causeway

CausewayWhen you visit Clearwater Beach or any other location on the Central Gulf Coast, you will soon hear the locals talking about causeways. More than one visitor has asked the question, “What is a causeway?” According to Dictionary.com and Mirriam-Webster.com, a causeway is a raised road or path such as those that cross wet areas or water. It also refers to Roman style roads, and can refer to paving a road with cobblestones or gravel. Of course, we are not building Roman style roadways here in Florida. Our causeways are used to get you across the water. But why does the Central Gulf Coast of Florida use causeways instead of bridges?

Bridges and Causeways of the Florida Gulf Coast

We do use bridges here in Florida, but we are also very fond of our causeways. Causeways lead us to our beaches! You will also find causeways leading across Tampa Bay itself. The roads across Tampa Bay span a very large stretch of water, three in total, the Gandy, Hwy 275, and the Courtney Campbell Causeway.

  • Gandy: 2 of the 5 miles is causeway; 3 miles of bridge
  • HWY 275 bridge, roughly half of the 7 miles is causeway
  • Courtney Campbell Causeway is 9.5 miles, almost all of which is causeway

The bridge spans over the bay raise up off the water, with pylons holding them up, allowing for boat traffic. The causeways are made from rocks and fill dirt. Of course, fill dirt In Florida is also known as sand. The dirt then has a long road paved over top of it. Tampa Bay and the surrounding waterways of the Florida Gulf Coast are shallow. Tampa bay is reportedly only about 12 feet deep! Such shallow waters lend well building causeways.

Why Are Florida Causeways So Popular?

Causeway to Clearwater BeachThe causeways around the Florida Gulf Coast are popular for a variety of reasons. The foremost reason is an ease in traffic. According to CourtneyCampbell.org, the roadway between Tampa and Clearwater sees over 50,000 motorists a day! With three such bridges crossing Tampa Bay, you can imagine the relief the causeways give to the land routes that encircle the water. The other reason the causeways are popular might not occur to you until you see them for yourself. Causeways provide many extra miles of coastline!  You will see plenty of Florida natives and tourists enjoying the shoreline along the causeways. They make great launch sites for small craft and are also very popular fishing destinations. The Courtney Campbell Causeway is even considered a scenic roadway, which it truly is. The vistas of Tampa Bay are beautiful from all three of these large Florida causeways.

Clearwater Beach Causeway

Clearwater Beach causewayWhen you come to Clearwater Beach for vacation it is likely you will cross the Courtney Campbell Causeway on your way into Clearwater from the Tampa airport. Enjoy the ride! After you pass through downtown Clearwater, you will be treated to our little causeway here at the beach. It is lined with large palm trees and has a wide biking and walking trail along its southern shore. The Clearwater Beach causeway also takes you past the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter the dolphin from the Dolphin Tale movie. Keep the causeway in mind on your Clearwater Beach vacation. The beach causeway is a great place for morning walks or afternoon bike rides.

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