With the winter visitor season in high gear on both Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale has some advice for motorists.
“Have patience,” he said, especially if the drawbridge is raised.
He sees traffic backups routinely when the Cortez Bridge bascule goes up. Vehicles stack up on Gulf Drive to the Longboat Pass Bridge and beyond. The bridge holds up motorists about 10 minutes, and the minimum time for traffic to resume flowing is about 5 minutes.
“Every vehicle stops for at least 5 minutes and nobody is going anywhere, so just have some patience and relax. Everybody’s in the same situation,” the chief said.
The Cortez and Anna Maria Island bridges are raised on the half-hour February-April, while the remaining months both bridges can be raised on 20 minute cycles on boater demand.
“Let’s all just keep our cool and don’t drive foolishly,” Speciale said. “We’ll get through this just fine.”
The chief gave a friendly reminder to pedestrians that they should cross roads at designated crossings. Florida law gives pedestrians the right of way only in a designated crosswalk, not anywhere along the street.