FDOT: Cortez Bridge 'in pretty bad shape' but a fix will take several years

jtate@bradenton.comJune 19, 2013 

MANATEE -- Cortez Bridge needs a major makeover.

The Florida Department of Transportation presented plans to the Manatee County Commissioners Tuesday to improve the 57-year-old bridge.

Antone Sherrod, FDOT project manager, said it will take a three-year study for the department to properly assess needed repairs and determine costs. FDOT repairs the bridge now as needed.

"We're spending money to repair the bridge and it's in pretty bad shape," Sherrod said. "We are looking at a rehab option."

The bridge, built in 1956, is one of two connecting Anna Maria Island to the mainland.

Commissioners said they agree the bridge needs work but were wary of shutting it down for an extended period of time to the beach communities during hurri

cane season.

Sherrod said one lane would remain open for traffic while the bridge was being worked on.

Sherrod estimated the project could take eight to 10 years to complete, which includes studies, design and construction

FDOT said more planning and surveying must be done before work begins. Once the prelimnary work is done, FDOT plans to have a public hearing regarding bridge rehab project options in July 2014.

"We do know something has to be done with that bridge. Hopefully with the result of your study it can be something the district commissioners, residents and all of us can live with," said Whitmore.

In other business, county commissioners passed a motion that confirms the Cortez Road extension will connect with Lakewood Ranch.

"I'm glad we've gotten this on the table and we're not going to bring it up again about stopping it at (U.S.) 301. We're going to continue moving forward," said Commissioner Betsy Benac.

Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.

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