Tag Archives: Cortez Bridge

Anna Maria Island Bridge and Cortez Bridge Openings Change

Update Oct, 2017: USCG approved changes to opening times, effective Oct. 5 year-round, to be at quarter past, 0015, and quarter to the hour, 0045, from 0600 to 1900H, on the Manatee Ave (Anna Maria Island) Bridge and the Cortez Bridge. The change also applies to Stickney Point and Siesta Drive bridges in Sarasota. Longboat Pass bridge continues as open on-demand.

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.

Anna Maria Bridge opening

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.

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Brown Pelicans of Anna Maria Florida

The longer I live on Anna Maria, the more I appreciate the brown pelicans that live here year-round. At first glance, they seem so much less beautiful than their large white cousins who migrate here in winter and therefore are less “common.” But there are some very special things about the brown pelican and we are lucky to have them in Florida and on the island. I believe they are very sensitive to environmental degradation, so their presence is not only a joy, but also a reassuring sign.

Brown pelican

Brown pelicans have a wing span of about 84 inches, compared to the 108 inch wingspan of the American White Pelican. One of the most surprising things to witness is a brown pelican feeding by diving from the air. There is a big splash, as the bill enters the water to catch a fish and the body of the bird continues a little farther so the bird lands, twisting over its bill, so it ends up facing the opposite direction from that in which it was going. If one looks at it at this point, it’s often difficult to figure out what one is looking at. The head may still be down in the water and body still twisted. The impression is simply that something very large is partly submerged and partly visible. It often takes me awhile to realize it’s just a brown pelican fishing.

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Anna Maria Bridge Closes

Anna Maria Island bridge will close from early morning, Monday, September 29th, to allow planned repairs.

The closure is for 45 days, but may be shorter if the work progresses ahead of schedule, or longer if there are delays.

Anna Maria Island bridge

Traffic to and from the island will be detoured to the Cortez bridge to the south. Increased traffic flows at the Bradenton Beach end of Cortez Bridge will be accommodated by a lengthened turn lane.

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