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.
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.
The fewer scheduled raisings are expected to alleviate traffic delays during the busier winter tourist season, which peaks at around Presidents’ weekend.
In case of boating emergencies, the bridges may also be raised at any time.
Three bridges provide access on and off Anna Maria Island at Manatee Ave Highway 64, mid-island at Cortez Road, and at the southern point at Longboat Pass.
The Longboat Pass Bridge connecting Anna Maria Island to Longboat Key is raised for boats at any time on demand, all year.