BRADENTON BEACH – The Wilco construction crew doing the boring for burying the Bridge Street utility lines accidentally broke a water line Saturday afternoon on Bay Drive South.
The accident happened near the east end of Bridge Street and forced the Anna Maria Oyster Bar to close for the day. The temporary water shortages also impacted the Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar.
According to City Attorney Ricinda Perry, the water line break occurred at about 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18. Roughly three hours later, a crew from Manatee County arrived to make the needed repairs.
Perry, Mayor John Chappie and Lt. John Cosby from the Bradenton Beach Police Department were among those who responded to the scene.
“Everyone is working together and doing everything they can to get the water turned back on as quickly as possible,” Perry said as the situation unfolded.
When contacted Saturday afternoon, Anna Maria Oyster Bar managing partner Lynn Horne said, “We don’t have any water, so we had to close.”
Horne said the Oyster Bar closed at about 2:45 p.m. and was expected to reopen Sunday morning. On Sunday, he said his water service was restored and the restaurant opened as scheduled.
At 3:30 Saturday afternoon, Bridge Tender Inn & Dockside Bar owner Fred Bartizal said he had limited water access and was hoping to remain open.
Drift In manager Doreen Flynn said although they still had water at their establishment on Bridge Street she had to cancel Dos Macs’ Saturday afternoon outdoor musical performance because a portion of Bridge Street was closed.
“I can’t imagine why they would close down Bridge Street in season on a Saturday, which is usually the busiest day for shopping and the restaurants. We had very little foot traffic because of the dust and noise. We lost money, but at least we were open,” Flynn said.
Perry said that section of Bridge Street was closed on Saturday because of the brick paver crosswalks being installed. Perry also said Wilco was available to work on the undergrounding project that weekend and the weekend before, but Wilco’s availability is limited between now and March.
Bridge Tender Inn Manager Shannon Dunnan said later the water shortages eventually resulted in the kitchen being closed, but the Dockside tiki stayed open. Dunnan said their big concern was being fully open again in time for Sunday’s Green Bay Packers-San Francisco 49er’s playoff game.
According to Perry, water service was restored at about 6 p.m. Saturday evening and the temporary repairs to Bay Drive South were completed at 11 p.m.
On Sunday, Bartizal said normal business operations had resumed and he praised Perry and Chappie for their efforts.
“Kudos to Ricinda and John for staying there all day, and to Ricinda for trying to expedite matters. That just shows they care about the city, care about the businesses and care about the residents. They spent the whole day here,” Bartizal said.
Perry suspended all undergrounding and paver installation work on Sunday in order to keep the streets open and unencumbered. She said some work would resume Monday.