State begins work on DeSoto Bridge linking Bradenton, Palmetto

BRADENTON -- The Florida Department of Transportation’s contractor started work Monday on a $1.7 million improvement project on the U.S. 301/Hernando DeSoto Bridge.

The bridge spans the Manatee River, carrying traffic between the river's north and south banks.

Construction crews are making structural repairs, replacing a portion of the bridge deck, and installing pile jackets to protect the bridge piles, according to Cindy Clemmons, a spokeswoman for the department.

Heavy equipment sat ready to go at the bridge's north end earlier Monday.

Most construction on the bridge will occur at night; motorists should expect some work to close travel lanes from 8 p.m. - 6 a.m., although two-way traffic will be permitted, Clemmons said.

Lane closures are not permitted between 6 a.m. - 8 p.m., but lane shifts are expected during construction, she said.

Project completion is slated for late summer, said Clemmons.

The contractor is CMA Corp., she said.