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Manatee agencies plan for temporary closing of 51st Street West intersection

MANATEE — The planned closing of 51st Street West at Cortez Road is bound to create traffic snarls, but steps are being taken to minimize the headaches.

The Manatee County Public Works Department will be installing a waterline under Cortez Road and will have to close the cross street to traffic for about 120 feet both north and south of the intersection, Michael O’Reilly, the county project manager, told a roomful of representatives from emergency, law enforcement, school bus, and other agencies this morning.

The closure is planned for around April 12 if possible and will last for about two weeks on the southern portion of 51st Street West, and about a month for the northern half of the project, O’Reilly said.

It was decided to pick a date after Easter to avoid the heavy traffic from spring training and winter visitors from the north.

“Traffic will be lighter,” said Mark Fransen, a right-of-way inspector with the county public works department, who organized the meeting.

Traffic coming north from 53rd Avenue West will be detoured from 51st Street West to either 43rd or 66th streets west, which both cross Cortez Road.

Traffic heading south on 51st Street West will be directed to head west on 21st Avenue West to 59th Street West, then south to Cortez Road.