In wake of accident, Manatee County debates $1.6 million for DeSoto Bridge, U.S. 301

jsalman@bradenton.comFebruary 21, 2012 

BRADENTON -- Manatee County commissioners are considering using an unexpected $1.6 million to accelerate an impact study on improvements to the U.S. 301 corridor in Bradenton -- especially the DeSoto Bridge -- in the wake of a bicyclist who hit and killed by a motorist this week.

At a workshop meeting Tuesday, other commissioners argued the money from the Department of Transportation would be better suited for enhancements to the traffic management system that allow emergency vehicles to improve response times by tapping into the signal light software.

The DOT has handed Manatee $1.6 million in leftover funds that has yet to be budgeted into the county’s five-year transportation plan.

While the fresh allocation came as welcomes news to commissioners, initial consensus couldn’t be reached among board members during a work session Tuesday morning.

A final vote will come before the board in March or April.

“Here is this bridge that doesn’t have bike lanes or sidewalks, it’s functionally obsolete,” Commissioner Joe McClash said. “It’s dangerous.”

Josh Salman, Herald business writer, can be reached at 941-745-7095.

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