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Manatee Avenue’s new look unveiled

BRADENTON -- Downtown Manatee Avenue West no longer looks like a construction zone.

The $5.7 million project, which started in November 2010, is drawing to a close this week. The lanes are open, most of the orange barrels have been removed and fresh striping has been applied to the asphalt.

In addition to a freshened-up and improved east-west corridor, the street also has newly planted crape myrtles, wide sidewalks, new streetlights and brick walkways.

Royal palms have been planted in front of Manatee’s historic courthouse at 14th Street West and Manatee Avenue West.

A new storm water drainage systems has also been added.

From Ninth to 15th streets, the street narrows from three lanes to two, and motorists will find newly created parallel parking places.

The Florida Department of Transportation is planning a March start for a $12.7 million road project farther east along State Road 64.

That project calls for widening of the divided roadway from four to six lanes, from west of Carlton Arms Boulevard to just west of I-75.