If you live on Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key or in Cortez, please attend the FDOT meeting at St. Bernard's Church Aug. 28 and say "no" again to a high fixed-span bridge.
Even though we have not had a hurricane hit our island for many years, we should think about that possibility and how we (that means you, Longboat Key north) would evacuate if we choose to.
Obviously, we want the safest bridges possible. At their current heights and with our building code limiting the building height to 38 feet, our low-level bascule bridges are afforded some protection from the full force of wind.
The higher the bridge, the less protected it is. The higher the bridge you have to drive over, the higher the wind speeds.
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When directly asked about closure of any bridge due to high wind (in the event of a hurricane), a drawbridge is locked in the down position, not up.
FDOT officials always shy away from addressing the dangers of traveling over a high bridge in hurricane-force winds by "deferring" to emergency officials. Those officials admit to keeping their own people out of harm's way and off a bridge in high winds.
If a higher Cortez bridge is constructed, the launch platforms will have to be extended further to the east and completely reconfigured on the Gulf side to compensate for the increased degree of elevation.
Businesses and residences will be destroyed or find themselves with an eye-level view of concrete.
The three bridges connecting our islands and the mainland will only be two lanes wide no matter how high they are.
Please don't sit at home this night. Show up for even a few minutes and tell FDOT we said "no" before and we still mean "no" to any change in height of our safe bridges.