BRADENTON -- Motorists will soon be able to use the new Ninth Avenue West bridge in Bradenton.
On Wednesday, Bradenton officials said the bridge over Wares Creek will be open to the public by late next week. Construction on the bridge began in July and is designed to facilitate the flow of water to reduce flooding along Bradenton's Wares Creek neighborhood.
The city of Bradenton received a $1 million stimulus grant to build the bridge, replacing the old span that was built in 1945.
The city will also replace bridges at 12th and 14th avenues to ease the flow of water.
Quality Enterprises USA Inc., a Naples-based construction company, was awarded the bid to replace the 12th and 14th avenue bridges Tuesday by the Bradenton City Council. The city will pay the company $2.38 million to replace the bridges, as well as for drainage improvements on 20th Street West.
Claude Tankersley, Bradenton's public works director, said Quality Enterprises will build one bridge at a time, starting with the 12th Avenue bridge in late January or early February. The 12th Avenue bridge is expected to be complete by Memorial Day.
Construction on the 14th Avenue bridge will begin in the summer of 2013 and be completed by Halloween.
The city will hold a neighborhood meeting for residents in that area to talk about construction issues. A date has yet to be determined.
The Wares Creek flood control project, a $51.8 million project orchestrated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, began in January. The Corps of Engineers' contractors finished dredging 37,000 cubic yards of material from
the flood-prone creek in early August and the next phase, designated Phase III A, will consist of channel widening and retaining wall construction. The third phase is expected to begin as soon as February, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials say.
In other action Wednesday, the council:
n Increased mileage reimbursement rate from 55 cents to 56 cents for employees using personal vehicles for travel on city business.
n Reappointed Vernon DeSear and Michele Weaver to the Downtown Development Authority.
n Appointed Ben Bakker to the Planning Commission.
n Shifted a surplus of $44,000 to its Community Development Block Grant fund, which is used to rehabilitate houses for low-income families.
n Added Master Limited Partnerships as a category for investment to the police officers' retirement system.
At the start of the meeting, the fourth-grade class of Saint Stephen's Episcopal School, wearing red shirts, Santa hats and reindeer antlers, sang Christmas songs for council members.
Nick Williams, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams