This is déjà vu all over again -- and again and again.
The Florida Department of Transportation keeps returning to gauge public sentiment over the future of the Cortez Bridge. At Thursday evening's public open house, FDOT answered questions from residents.
Are there any new questions about this? Maybe about details, but the agency's options are always the same. Those alternatives have received public scrutiny numerous times.
One must wonder if FDOT is waging a war of attrition to wear down or outlast stout opposition to the construction of a high-level fixed bridge. Other options for replacement are both drawbridges, one low, one mid-level.
Repairs and rehabilitation to the 1950s-era span are also on the table.
The aging structure is currently in the midst of a $4 million repair job that will only extend its life for another decade once complete in 2015.
Longtime residents remember that the agency proposed replacing the current drawbridge with a 65-foot-high, fixed span in the late 1980s. FDOT backed down but kept the idea afloat.
A 2009 FDOT study also recommended replacing the drawbridge with a tall fixed span, but once again withering criticism over the destruction of the historic fishing village of Cortez forced the agency to retreat.
Three years ago, the agency announced a $1.5 million study on the long-term future of the 58-year-old drawbridge. Last year, FDOT returned for an open house.
Sure, FDOT must follow procedures, but this is reaching the point of overkill.
How about a new drawbridge of the same design and same height but with wider traffic lanes and sidewalks?