BRADENTON -- Doug Bryant goes to the U.S. Post Office a few times a week, but lately, he’s had to re-arrange where he parks, with all the construction on the westbound lanes of Manatee Avenue.
Now, he sometimes parks across the street, and sprints across the road on foot, instead of parking in the lot adjacent to the post office at 824 Manatee Ave. That way, he can more easily get the car out in traffic stymied by obstacles.
Still, it didn’t seem to bother the “life coach” for the state Department of Children and Families.
“I’m OK with this because it’s making it better for us,” said Bryant, 54, of Bradenton, taking the generous long view.
Others echoed similar sentiments.
“Yes, our customers are having difficulty,” reported Frank Perry, retail sales manager for Keeton’s Office & Art Supply, 817 Manatee Ave. W.
Traffic frequently backs up a couple of blocks, he said.
“Eventually, it could be good, but in the interim, it’s kind of an interruption of business,” said Perry. However, he added, “People do realize the end results are going to be worth the minor aggravation.”
The Florida Department of Transportation, which is in charge of the $5.7 million construction project begun in November 2010, is trying to complete work in downtown Bradenton before the high tourist season starts in the fall, said Maricelle Venegas, spokesman for the project.
Work crews are in the process of raising the road a little to eliminate a dip at the CSX railroad tracks, which cross Manatee Avenue, and installing new drainage and water lines, she said.
Then they’ll move west of the railroad tracks, in the area of 7th and 8th Streets West, she said.
“We’re doing utility work, including new water lines in that area,” she said. “As soon as that work is complete, we’ll continue westbound with curb work, sidewalk and driveways.”
Then, the crews will move on to 11th and 12th Streets West, she said.
The blocks between 10th and 14th Streets West will get on-street parking on the south side, with the final result to be two through lanes, she said.
But even as work is progressing quickly on that project, FDOT started another last week along the eastbound lanes of the same road, S.R. 64, or Sixth Avenue West.
A $202,684 improvement project will require temporary lane closures like the other project did, said Valerie Ciudad-Real, public information officer.
Work on that project will focus on an area from 15th Street West to west of 10th Street West, she said.
The contractor, Better Roads, is removing old asphalt, resurfacing the roadway, curb and gutters, signalization, sidewalk construction and signing and pavement markings.
The project on the eastbound lanes is slated for a summer completion date, she said.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.