Input sought on reduced bridge openings

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A boat passes through the opening on the Cortez Bridge. Islander File Photo

The first step of many to reduce bridge openings for the Anna Maria Island and Cortez bridges is in sight.

The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding possible changes to the opening times for bridges to and near Anna Maria Island.

According to the Feb. 13 Federal Register, the Coast Guard proposes to modify the operating schedule of four drawbridges across the Intracoastal Waterway: Cortez, Anna Maria, Siesta Drive and Stickney Point.

Area elected officials made the request to the Coast Guard through the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization. Their goal is to change the operation of the bridges due to an increase in traffic on the roadways throughout the year.

This proposed rulemaking would change the bridges’ operating schedule from three times per hour to twice per hour, throughout the year.

The Coast Guard seeks citizens’ opinions about the proposed change. All comments and related material must be received by April 14.

Submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2016–0330 using the federal eRulemaking portal at regulations.gov.

For inquiries or more information about the proposed rule change, contact Lt. Ashley Holm, Coast Guard Sector St Petersburg, at 813-228–2191 ext. 8105, or Ashley.E.Holm@uscg.mil.

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