PALMETTO -- The Florida Department of Transportation will completely close the north- and southbound U.S. 41 bridges over U.S. 301 starting July 15 for an estimated three weeks.
It is part of a $3.5 million project started in April to raise each span of the bridge 18 inches, resurface the road, improve drainage and install barrier walls and guardrails.
Lauren Hatchell, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Transportation,
said the original plan was to have only periodic nightly closures on the bridge. But since starting construction, FDOT has had to update plans to shut it down for three weeks.
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"The bridge has already been hit four times since we started," Hatchell said. "We'll keep law enforcement there 24/7 to divert traffic."
Traffic will detour at the U.S. 41 off-ramps to U.S. 301, cross U.S. 301 and re-enter U.S. 41 through the on-ramps.
In the event of a hurricane, the contractor, Zep Construction Inc., will clear the bridge of construction so traffic can pass through normally during any evacuations.
The jacking of the bridge will occur only between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., Hatchell said. During those periods, all traffic in the area will be stopped for 15-minute intervals.
After the bridge is raised, it will increase the clearance and prevent future accidents, Hatchell said.
"We're hoping this won't last the full three weeks, but when this closure is lifted all construction should be done," Hatchell said.