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April start on 9th Ave. bridge project

BRADENTON -- Officials expect construction to begin in April to replace the aged Ninth Avenue West bridge spanning Wares Creek.

Bradenton officials are poised to advertise for bids on the $1.7 million project, which is expected to take 150 days to complete, said Jim McLellan, engineering section manager for Bradenton’s public works department.

The city plans to remove the existing bridge and install a new, precast concrete arch-type structure, McLellan said Wednesday.

The new bridge will be designed to provide a more generous flow capacity for the flood-prone creek, which starts near State Road 70 and meanders north to empty into the Manatee River.

Because the bridge is adjacent to Ballard Elementary, the city hopes to do the majority of work during summer when children are out of school, said McLellan. The idea is to avoid as much as possible any disruption to students, parents and bus drivers, he said.

Three other bridges along the creek are also slated for replacement: those at 12th, 14th and 17th avenues west.

Designs for the other three bridges are all about 60 percent done, McLellan said.

The city has submitted a “cooperative funding” application. If it is successful, money would be available for a combined project, including both the 12th and 14th avenue west bridges, he said.

Under those circumstances, construction on the two bridges could start in October or November, McLellan said.

“If all goes without a hitch, we would have completed the Ninth Avenue (West) bridge by the end of August or early September, and immediately put another out for bid -- construction of the 12th and 14th (avenue west bridges),” McLellan said.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031.