Florida Department of Transportation announced that the start of the Anna Maria Bridge renovations has been delayed until Feb 4. A new contract with Quinn Construction Co of Palmetto calls for the bridge on Manatee Avenue, or State Road 64, connecting Anna Maria Island to the mainland and Bradenton, to be closed completely to vehicles for 45 days.
Originally announced last year to begin April 1, the closure was to be 75 days, but
local objections forced DOT to reexamine the length and start date of the project. Business owners argued the closure would interfere with the winter tourist season and aggravate evacuation during the summer hurricane season.
The $9.14 million overall project is planned to take 400 days. The setup process begins Feb 4 and should not affect traffic flow. Closure to vehicles is scheduled Sept 30 and reopen Nov 15. Conclusion is expected to be Mar 10, 2009.
The planned renovations are projected to extend the life of the 50 year-old, 2-lane, bascule-opening bridge for another 15 – 20 years. A new replacement bridge would likely take 12 -14 years to be operational, and cost $30 – 40 million. A proposed 65-foot clearance, fixed-span bridge to replace the drawbridge was opposed by locals in 1997.
There are 2 other access points on and off Anna Maria Island: Cortez bridge from Bradenton Beach to Cortez, and Longboat Pass bridge south to Longboat Key.