As the future of the Cortez Bridge is studied, Manatee County residents will have an opportunity to review four alternatives being considered for the bridge connecting Cortez to Anna Maria Island.
The four alternatives — a 21-foot vertical clearance drawbridge, 35-foot vertical clearance drawbridge, 65-foot vertical clearance fixed bridge and a no-build repair option — will be presented during the alternatives public meeting Aug. 9. Florida Department of Transportation is hosting the meeting from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Saint Bernard Catholic Church activity center, 248 S. Harbor Drive, Holmes Beach.
The no-build alternative would have a 10-year life while the replacement of the bridge would have a 75-year life. The replacement alternatives would be constructed north of the existing bridge, according to project materials.
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After the public meeting, FDOT will review the comments received as it refines the viable build alternatives, according to a newsletter about the project. The study limits are on Cortez Road from Gulf Drive to 123rd Street West. A hearing has been tentatively scheduled for early 2017 so FDOT can present the build alternatives and the no-build repair alternative.
“The project is eligible to advance to the design, right-of-way acquisition and construction phases as they are funded,” according to the newsletter. “The design phase (preparation of plans) for the No-Build (Repair) or Build (replacement) alternative is funded in fiscal year 2018 of FDOT’s Five Year Work Program. Right of way acquisition is funded in fiscal year 2019. Construction is not currently funded in the program, which runs through mid-2021.”
In early June, a transportation planner told the county commission that a dedicated transit lane on the Cortez Bridge replacement would only reduce vehicles per day by 2.9 percent. FDOT is looking at replacing both bridges to Anna Maria Island. The replacement of the Anna Maria Bridge is in the design phase for a high-level, fixed replacement bridge.
“We do understand that they are two separate bridges,” Kati Sherrard, an FDOT project manager, said at the June commission meeting.