The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority automatically closes the Swing Bridge to boat traffic and notifies the U.S. Coast Guard anytime sustained storm winds exceed 35 to 40 mph.
GIBA maintenance then bolts on supplemental large steel turnbuckles on all four corners of the Swing Bridge deck to help secure it from high winds.
GIBA never closes the bridge to island-bound or departing vehicle traffic prior to or during a storm.
Exceptions would be made for dangerous major structural bridge damage repair issues, which GIBA estimates is 99.5 percent unlikely.
If an island evacuation order is issued by the governor, the Sheriff takes over toll booth control. The sheriff restrict Traffic returning to the island but has never restricted traffic from leaving the island.
After an evacuation, the Sheriff will restrict traffic returning to the Island until bridges and roads are declared safe to travel. Then the Sheriff will rely upon the Boca Grande Fire Department hang tag passes to authorize island access.