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Date of Issue: December 13, 2007

Boaters: One-day bridge closing possible next week

The Florida Department of Transportation expects to close the drawbridge portion of the Anna Maria Island Bridge to boat traffic one day next week if it gets approval from the U.S. Coast Guard.

DOT spokesperson Cindy Clemmons-Adente said the DOT has asked the Coast Guard for permission to close the bridge on Dec. 17 or 18, but as of Friday, Dec. 7, had not yet received a reply.

The DOT needs to close the drawbridge portion because it has to remove asbestos from the bridge tender cabin and doesn’t want to risk the health of the bridge tender during the remediation. She emphasized that the closure would only apply to waterway traffic, not road traffic.

The asbestos contractor has indicated he can do the remediation in 24 hours, said Clemmons-Adente, provided that he doesn’t find any more asbestos or another issue.

“But the decision is still up in the air,” she said. “The Coast Guard has not yet given us their approval.”

She said that the one-day closure to boat traffic is not directly related to the planned $9.8 million renovation project that will begin in January. However, she added, the asbestos needs to be removed before the renovation project can begin.

The contract with Quinn Construction of Palmetto is still being renegotiated to account for just a 45-day full-bridge closure, not the 75 days planned in the original contract.