On May 9, 1980, a tanker collided with the southbound span of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge that connects St. Petersburg and Bradenton, Florida, and a portion of the bridge fell into the bay. The collapsed portion was never repaired and the northbound span continued to carry traffic in both directions. Eventually the decision was made to build a modern replacement structure, and in 1982, construction commenced for the new Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The new bridge would feature a 3-span, cable-stayed bridge providing 175 feet of vertical clearance of the shipping channel.
On April 11, 1984, the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) received a request to provide technical assistance to the General Accounting Office (GAO) in their review of the construction of the new bridge. GAO presented a list of specific questions related to the construction. NBS engineers performed a review of the documents and questions received from GAO. The NBS report, " Responses to Questions by the General Accounting Office (GAO) Related to construction of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (NBS IR 84-2892)," provides answers to those questions and provides explanations for each answer.