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Cortez Bridge $10m rehab, 10-year lifeline to start in April

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

The Florida Department of Transportation will commence a $10 million maintenance project on the Cortez Bridge in April to keep the bridge that links Bradenton Beach at the south end of Anna Maria Island to Cortez and the mainland functional for another 10 years. Islander Photo: Jack Elka

The Florida Department of Transportation said it will hold a meeting this spring to update people on the status of its project development and engineering study for the Cortez Bridge.

The DOT has not set a date for the meeting.

And, according to DOT spokesman Anton Sherrard, recommendations for the bridge’s future will not be presented at the meeting.

The PD&E study is ongoing and it’s not expected to be completed until January 2015, when the DOT will hold present the study and its recommendations.

The PD&E will explore several options — repairing the bridge every 10 years, a major rehabilitation to extend the life of the bridge 25 years, or a replacement of the bridge with a low, mid or high-level bridge.

Meanwhile, the DOT is set to begin a $10 million maintenance project on the bridge in April, Sherrard said. The project will give the bridge another 10 years of functional use.

The maintenance work is expected to take 8-10 months and the bridge could be closed for several days during that period. The DOT said any closing of the Cortez Bridge would be during summer or early fall, when tourism on the island is at its lowest.

The last time the Cortez Bridge was closed to vehicular traffic was for a rehab project in 1999 and the closure lasted about 45 days.

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