BRADENTON BEACH – The members of the Coalition of Barrier Island Elected Officials had a lot to think about when Florida Department of Transportation representative Albert Rosenstein appeared before them to give an update on ongoing projects.
Rosenstein said the two roundabouts planned for Manatee Avenue in Holmes Beach are almost through the department’s approval process. A planned roundabout for Manatee Avenue at East Bay Drive is in the last of three stages of approval. He said that no right of way acquisition is needed for the project, but it will wait for construction until the accompanying roundabout at Manatee Avenue and Gulf Drive can be built.
The roundabout at Manatee Avenue and Gulf Drive, at the main entrance to Manatee Beach, is in the second stage of approval. Rosenstein said this roundabout does require a right of way purchase. Construction on the roundabouts is expected to take place at the same time and is currently not funded. An extension of the northbound turn lane from Manatee Avenue to Gulf Drive is currently funded in the fifth year of the DOT’s current funding cycle.
Anna Maria Island Bridge
Design plans are expected to be complete in late 2019 for the new high-span Anna Maria Island Bridge on Manatee Avenue. The bridge will have a 65-foot navigational clearance with a 74-foot maximum height and a 4 percent grade. A new bridge is planned to lift off and set down in the footprint of the current bridge and be constructed just to the south of the existing drawbridge. Though the new bridge is on the DOT’s advanced project list, Rosenstein said it’s currently unfunded.
Though Rosenstein didn’t know if the plans were still negotiable, he said that the favored replacement for the aging Cortez Bridge is a high-span bridge also with 65 feet of navigable space underneath the bridge. Because the bridge would have to be slightly shorter than the Anna Maria Bridge, Rosenstein said the current projections show the bridge with a 5 percent grade. Currently, the bridge is awaiting the design phase and construction is unfunded. Rosenstein said he expects the concept for the replacement bridge to be officially approved in October. With the Cortez Bridge, he said there will be right of way acquisitions or imposition of eminent domain by the department. The new bridge is planned to be constructed just to the north of the existing drawbridge.
Longboat Pass Bridge
Beginning June 10, Rosenstein said that repair work will begin on the Longboat Pass Bridge. Construction is expected to take approximately 80 days to complete. Lane closures will occur Mondays through Thursdays from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. with no closures planned on the weekends. Lanes could be closed for up to 15 minutes periodically from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. during the week for testing with no detours planned. Two days of detours for machinery to be brought on or removed from the bridge are planned from midnight to 5 a.m. The days of those detours and the path of the detours are not yet known.