Published: Jul 13, 2011 5:55 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 13, 2011 4:55 PM EDT

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.- Crews have started demolition of the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier's original spans.

Officials say workers began the process Monday of sawing and removing 27 spans and their underwater supports, beginning on the north end of the 1954 section. Work should be finished by next March.

Project spokeswoman Audrey Clarke says much of the work will be performed from floating barges.

The original spans have been closed to the public since being deemed structurally unsafe in 2008. Since then, the public has used the section built in 1970, which runs parallel to the older span.

The project will cost about $2.2 million.

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