BRADENTON -- After nearly three weeks of detours, Bradenton motorists can once again drive all the way down Sixth Avenue West.
Until Wednesday afternoon, a joint project by the Department of Transportation and CSX had closed State Road 64/Sixth Avenue West from Sixth Street to Third Street West for 19 days as crews worked to replace the railroad crossing.
Throughout the closure, motorists were detoured at Ninth Street West south to Ninth Avenue West.
"Sixth Avenue is open," Bradenton Police Deputy Chief Warren Merriman said. "The work is done that involves road closures, which was important for us for the Fourth of July and the traffic that comes downtown."
Work crews opened the road to traffic just after 2 p.m., according to Bradenton Police Sgt. Brian Thiers.
"They are in the process of removing the barricades, but traffic is already able to go across the railroad," Thiers said.
Work is not complete, however.
"They are going to have to redo the asphalt but they will do that sometime next week," Thiers said. "It will be single-lane closures and will all be done at night."
Thiers oversaw the off-duty police officers paid to assist with the detours.
"We appreciate the patience
of the citizens," Thiers said. "It went very smoothly, especially considering the major thoroughfare that Sixth Avenue is."
The Department of Transportation had estimated the road would reopen by July 3.
"We are very pleased," Thiers said. "They wanted to have it open by the holiday, so they did a good job."
Jessica De Leon, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.