MANATEE -- Just in time for holiday traffic near the mall, the Florida Department of Transportaton is planning to use a bulldozer to push a prefabricated bridge onto Interstate 75.
As part of the I-75/University Parkway diverging diamond interchange project, the installation of a three-lane temporary bridge is expected to take place in mid-December, the Florida Department of Transportation interstate construction project manager told Manatee and Sarasota County commissions during a joint meeting Thursday.
Project manager Marlena Gore said the bridge will be pushed across the interstate with a bulldozer one December night and positioned between existing I-75 bridges over University Parkway.
Southbound traffic will travel on the temporary bridge while the existing I-75 bridge is demolished, according to Gore.
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Gore said a specific date has not been set for installation but the bridge will be delivered in 25 loads in November.
"We won't be reducing lanes by any means," Gore said.
The project, which has a construction cost of $74.5 million and is now in its 88th day, is expected to be completed in time for the 2017 World Rowing Championship at Nathan Benderson Park from Sept. 24-
Oct. 1, 2017.
Meredith Scerba, Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center's newly hired 2017 World Rowing Championship event director, delivered an update on the event Thursday. SANCA is the nonprofit that operates the park.
"We are going to put on a party and it's going to be a big party," Scerba said.
Scerba said they are going to embrace the Florida culture and have "Cheeseburger in Paradise fun."
"We can appeal to everyone," she said. "It's the legacy that we really want to leave. This event is going to take us to the next level and other things that we can bring to Nathan Benderson Park."
This is the first time in 23 years the World Rowing Championship will be in the United States so Scerba said: "All eyes are on us."
"We are not just representing Sarasota and Manatee County but the state of Florida and the United States as a whole," she said.
SANCA President Paul Blackketter said the finish tower will be complete by next summer.
With more than 40,000 people expected during the nine-day event, Scerba said all hotels for the athletes have already been booked.
"We do have adequate hotel accommodations for everyone," Scerba said.
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.