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Jeep crashes at brink of bridge

By Jennifer Glenfield and Rick Catlin, Islander Reporters

A Jeep rests at the brink of the Anna Maria Island Bridge March 24 after jumping the sidewalk divider and crashing the railing. Islander Photo: Courtesy HBPD Officer Josh Fleischer

A crew from Pro Forma Enterprises Inc. of Sarasota works on repairing the Anna Maria Island Bridge railing March 26. The railing was damaged by a motorist March 24. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

A Jeep hung precariously over the edge of the State Road 64/Manatee Avenue bridge in a light rain March 24 after the driver lost control and skidded part way through the railing, overhanging the bay some 40-feet below.

The Jeep went over the sidewalk divider and knocked out a section of railing on the bridge. The unidentified driver told the Holmes Beach Police Department that she lost control when her vehicle reached the grating near the center of the bascule and skidded across the bridge.

No other vehicles were involved.

HBPD responded to the scene about 1:45 p.m. and allowed one lane on the bridge to pass intermittently. According to Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer, officers contacted a tow company and the Florida Highway Patrol.

While HBPD managed intermittent one-lane traffic, the accident fell into the jurisdiction of the FHP.

Tokajer said traffic was backed up on Manatee Avenue for about 90 minutes.

HBPD coordinated with the Bradenton Police Department to temporarily reroute traffic from Manatee Avenue at 75th Street in Bradenton.

The Florida Department of Transportation was called to verify the safety of the bridge, which fully reopened by 3 p.m.

A temporary barricade was provided March 24 and the sidewalk was closed. Workers from Pro Forma Enterprises of Sarasota were on the bridge March 26 to repair the railing but March 27 brought more weather and a halt to the repair, the crew foreman said.

“I only need a couple of buckets of concrete, but the rain and wind forced us to halt today,” the foreman said March 27.

“It’s not a big job if the weather will cooperate,” he said, adding there was no serious damage to the bridge.

Repairs to the bridge were completed March 28.

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