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Vol. 14 No. 49 - October 1, 2014


Building bridges

The results of the latest poll of attendees of the Aug. 28 information session at St. Bernard Church is in and the majority wants a new Cortez Bridge. That majority also wants a mid-level replacement drawbridge that would be 35 feet high.

Only 60 people responded, but it might be the types of people voting that drove the results. Since the information session was held on the Island, it might be safe to assume the majority of voters are from the Island or Cortez.

An earlier vote taken last year got 850 responses and the majority of them wanted to keep and repair the old drawbridge, but if it was replaced, they wanted a tall, fixed-span bridge. That meeting was held in West Bradenton and it might be safe to assume a lot of those voters use the bridge on holidays and weekends and want the fastest way possible, with no drawbridge waits.

We agree with the latest results because we feel the current bridge would be too costly to keep safe, and we would prefer the medium height bridge because it’s just too snug for a high bridge. Plus, a tall bridge would be completely out of character next to one of the last true fishing villages in the state - Cortez.

In addition, we again call on the Florida Department of Transportation to seriously consider another bridge either to north Longboat Key or south of the Cortez Bridge near Coquina Beach. That would give beach-goers another route to take and it would provide another storm evacuation route for Longboat residents. Currently, the Manatee Avenue Bridge is supposed to be used during evacuations by all Anna Maria Island residents living north of Cortez Road. The Cortez Bridge handles Island residents evacuating from Cortez Road south to Longboat Key, and about half of the residents on Longboat would also use that route.

We urge FDOT to follow the will of the people and give us a medium height drawbridge, one that would have to be opened less frequently for boat traffic. Then, let’s begin the debate over another bridge to paradise.


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