Cortez Bridge 'fixes' fail to address real problems

June 28, 2013 

Thank you for the informative editorial from June 22, "On Cortez Bridge ..."

It is very disturbing that 38 percent of FDOT survey respondents prefer a high-bridge replacement, 19 percent a mid-level, and only 33 percent the low-level span -- with no concern of hurricane evacuations.

Nor do they seem concerned that the original FDOT plan for a high bridge would have wiped out a 300-foot wide strip through Cortez from the museum to the water's edge, come within eight feet of the side of the Bridgeport Condo complex, and leveled off just short of the island stoplight.

Even worse, no one from the mainland seems to care about the Thanksgiving and after-Easter period when, daily, northbound traffic from Longboat Key is bumper-to-bumper, and requires nearly a half hour from the pass to Cortez Bridge -- for some 20 years now.

Years of research have proven the only solution is not the Cortez Bridge's future, but a new bridge from an extension of 53rd Avenue across the Tidy Island mangrove swamp about 0.6 mile from the nearest Tidy Island home, across the least amount of seagrass bay area, and touchdown some 800 feet from the Longboat Pass bridge, fantastically serving all LBK traffic, and most of that of Coquina Beach.

Once, way back when, it was officially suggested that SR-789 could be double-decked to handle the traffic problems mentioned above. As I remember, both bridges were approved by the Legislature in 1952, and Cortez was started immediately, whereas Manatee Avenue, which ended at (now) 75th Street West, had to be extended across the bay and Perico Island, and that bridge, not Cortez, was completed in 1956.

Jim Kissick

Bradenton Beach

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