Island bridges, roundabouts on DOT radar

Island bridges, roundabouts on DOT radar
A roundabout at the intersection of Gulf Drive and Manatee Avenue near Manatee Beach in Holmes Beach is in the final phases of Florida Department of Transportation approval. - Kristin Swain | Sun

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.

How to Navigate a Roundabout
To navigate a single-lane roundabout, vehicles are required to reduce speed to 10 to 15 miles per hour when approaching the roundabout. Drivers must look for and yield to bicyclists and pedestrians. The two roundabouts planned for Holmes Beach will have pedestrian crosswalks at each of the four entrances to the roundabout. All vehicles circle the roundabout to the right. Drivers entering the roundabout must yield to the vehicles already in the roundabout. Enter the roundabout when there is a gap in traffic and do not stop or attempt to pass other vehicles. Use a turn signal to indicate when exiting the roundabout.
Drivers should never stop once in the roundabout but can slow down to allow another vehicle to enter. If an emergency vehicle comes through the roundabout, drive to the nearest exit and then move over beyond the splitter island. – FDOT

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.

Cortez Bridge

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.

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