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Date of Issue: December 24, 2008

Bridge, road project approval granted by regional transportation planners

Regional transportation planners unanimously approved a road and bridge repair plan for fiscal years 2009 through 2014 for Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Within the program approved by the Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization Dec. 15 is a projected $5,641,271 expense for repair and rehabilitation of the Cortez Bridge in fiscal year 2013-14.

That project follows a $10 million rehab for the Anna Maria Island Bridge that caused the closure of the span from Perico Island to Holmes Beach for five weeks earlier this year in October and November. The Anna Maria Island Bridge project is scheduled to be finished by April 2009.

For the 51-year-old Cortez Bridge, work will probably entail repair of pilings, steel deck, electrical service and other elements of the drawbridge linking Cortez and Bradenton Beach. The full scope of work for the project will be determined as approval and funding is secured.

The MPO recommendation will go to the Florida Department of Transportation, then to the Florida Legislature and governor for final approval next spring.

Other facets of the 2009-10/2013-14 tentative work plan impacting the Island include:

  • $1.399 million for bridge repair-rehab of the Longboat Pass Bridge in 2011-12.
  • $3.429 million for resurfacing of Gulf Drive from Cortez Road to Manatee Avenue in 2009-10.
  • $2.207 million for resurfacing of Gulf Drive from Longboat Pass Bridge to Cortez Road in 2009-10.
  • $326,000 for landscaping on the Island in 2010-11.

Manatee Avenue from east of the Anna Maria Island Bridge to Bristol Bay Drive along the Palma Sola Causeway will be resurfaced at a cost of $1.169 million in 2011-12, according to plans.

In other business, MPO members learned that no road projects in Manatee or Sarasota counties were eligible for a possible economic stimulus program proposed by President-elect Barack Obama. Work must be designed, engineering complete and any necessary right of way acquired to qualify for the program, DOT District 1 Secretary Stan Cann said, and no projects in the area met that requirement.

MPO members also elected Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson to chair the board for 2009, with Bradenton City Councilwoman Marianne Barnebey serving as vice chair.