Contractor keeps to schedule on Longboat Pass Bridge repairs

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Heavy equipment and vehicles are parked June 27 at the southeast end of Coquina Bayside in Bradenton Beach, the staging site for the repair project on the Longboat Pass Bridge. Overnight work will continue into August, but crews will break for the July 4 holiday. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

When darkness falls, the crew comes out on the Longboat Pass Bridge.

Under a Florida Department of Transportation contract, Southern Road & Bridge is overseeing significant repairs to the Longboat Pass Bridge linking Bradenton Beach and Longboat Key on State Road 789.

The DOT is spending $5.2 million to repair the bascule bridge, built along with the Anna Maria Island and Cortez drawbridges in 1956-57.

The project, expected to add 10-15 years of use to the structure, began June 10.

“We have not experienced any impacts to the schedule at this point,” DOT spokesman Brian Rick said June 26. “We believe we are on track to complete the work by Aug. 28,” provided the workers see good weather.

Improvements under the 80-day contract include repairing concrete, upgrading the electrical system, installing a new poll and mast arm for traffic signals, repairing the fender system and cleaning and painting the steel.

The work requires narrower travel lanes, overnight lane closures and some sidewalk closures.

“We do not anticipate utilizing any full bridge closures or detours at this time,” Rick said. “If the need arises, we will issue … notifications at least 14 days prior to the closure.”

The DOT said there would be no work on the bridge July 4-7.

Earlier in the holiday week, after The Islander went to press, the contractor planned to prepare to coat, blast and paint steel and run electrical conduit and wiring.

Early June 27, the workers shared the bridge with several people fishing from the east sidewalk.

“We’re coexisting,” said fisher Paul Neely, of Bradenton. “But we aren’t sharing any fish.”

Staging for the project is at Coquina Beach Bayside in Bradenton Beach.

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