MANATEE COUNTY -- Anyone with an opinion on the proposed Fort Hamer Bridge will have an opportunity to let U.S. Coast Guard and county officials know where they stand during a public hearing at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Bradenton Area Convention Center in Palmetto.
The hearing will center around a Fort Hamer Bridge environmental impact study prepared by URS Corp. and issued through the Coast Guard. The draft EIS recommends the bridge crossing from Upper Manatee River Road to Fort Hamer Road.
The study recommends the Fort Hamer Bridge over two other options: expanding the existing Rye Bridge or build nothing.
The hearing is expected to draw supporters who want to accommodate growth, as well as better emergency response, and opponents con
cerned about noise, expense, traffic volume, damage to the environment and eroded property value.
After the public comment period ends Aug. 18, the Coast Guard will review all comments and develop a final EIS. The county still needs permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Southwest Florida Water Management District.