BRADENTON -- The Ninth Avenue West bridge over Wares Creek reopened Thursday morning after months of construction to better facilitate water flow.
Construction on a new bridge began in July. It is at a slightly higher elevation in order to reduce flooding along Bradenton's Wares Creek neighborhood.
The two-lane bridge officially reopened at 11:15 a.m.
The change in height may go unnoticed for some motorists after a few trips over the bridge, said Jim McLellan, Bradenton's engineering section manager.
The city of Bradenton received a $1 million stimulus grant to rebuild the 67-year-old bridge.
The city will also replace bridges at 12th and 14th avenues to ease the flow of water in Wares Creek.
Quality Enterprises USA Inc., a Naples-based construction company, was awarded the bid to replace the 12th and 14th avenue bridges and the city will pay the company $2.38 million for the work, as well as for drainage improvements on 20th Street West.
Claude Tankersley, Bradenton's public works director, previously 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 this summer and be completed by Halloween.
On Thursday, McLellan said the 20th Street drainage improvements will most likely take place during both bridge projects.
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 led 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.
Nick Williams, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams.