Update Feb, 2017: U.S. Coast Guard proposes changing operating schedule of bridges across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from three times per hour to twice. Anna Maria Bridge and Cortez Bridge will open on the quarter hour and three-quarter hour on demand, during daylight hours. The change is to be year-round. The proposal is open for comment until April 14.
On Jan 15, 2014, the US Coast Guard began its winter schedule for the timed raising of 2 bridges that connect Anna Maria Island to the mainland.
Passing under the Anna Maria Island Bridge
The summer schedule allowed for on-demand raising at 20 minute intervals: on the hour, 20 past, and 20 ’til, if required by a boat during daylight hours.
The winter schedule now in force from Jan 15 to May 15 is for 30 minute intervals: on the hour, and the half hour, on demand, during daylight.
For years, people arriving on Anna Maria Island via any of the bridges have had a wonderful close-up view of the water along the way. In fact, many of the island’s more laid-back residents and visitors express their welcoming of bridge openings, as opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings. They don’t mind pausing for a few minutes to appreciate the place in which they have chosen to spend time.
Although the Anna Maria Island Bridge on Manatee Avenue has recently been repaired and restored to last another ten years, there already is a major bureaucratic process underway to determine the ultimate future of this bridge. In fact, what happens to the bridge ten years from now is almost settled.
On March 26,  at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Holmes Beach , the FDOT held the final hearing at which they received public input on options for the Anna Maria Island Bridge ’s future. In addition to filling out questionnaires and comment sheets at the hearing, members of the public spoke and their comments were incorporated into the permanent public record. Those who did not attend the hearing can still enter their feedback into the public record by filling out questionnaires and comment sheets and submitting them to the FDOT by April 9. These forms can be downloaded from the site www.annamariaislandbridge.com. Input also can be given by phoning 863-519-2293.