FDOT has previously selected a high bridge to replace the present Manatee Avenue bridge. The Cortez Road bridge also will need to be replaced soon and FDOT plans for some form of bridge. The present FDOT position is that both be only two lanes; this is very unrealistic given the traffic tie-ups at Gulf Drive! I strongly believe that a better solution exists for both crossings.
In the 1950s Fort Lauderdale had a crossing problem. The Main Street bridge over New River needed replacement. After much study FDOT elected to put in an “underpass” (very short tunnel) under the river!
New River is less than 200 feet wide at the crossing and the channel was set to 15 feet deep. The entire underground crossing is less than 850 feet long. No special ventilation, etc., is needed for such a short tunnel. For details, look up “Henry E. Kinney Tunnel.” It is a four-lane roadway and was built in 865 days at a cost of $6.5 million or $54 million in 2015 dollars.
The intercoastal waterway is less than 100 feet wide and the water depth is approximately 10 feet. Both much less than for the Kinney Tunnel. An underpass looks to be an ideal way to connect both roadways to Anna Maria Island. Short low-level bridges would be needed to connect the underpass to land.
An underpass has many advantages. It should be much cheaper to construct, to operate, will not be closed for fog or high winds as high bridges are and does not require a 24/7 operator as do lift bridges.
What say you, FDOT?