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Date of Issue: April 02, 2008

Small bridge closure in Cortez

4-2-08/cortezbrdg1.jpg
Another bridge closure
The humpback bridge on 127th Street West off Cortez Road will close April 7 for 90 to 120 days to allow construction crews to renovate and raise its height an additional 2.5 feet above the high-water mark. Motorists who need to reach the area past the bridge are being advised by the Florida Department of Transportation to use 119th Street West. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
4-2-08/cortez-bridge1.jpg
This graphic-photo details the road closure and detour planned during reconstruction of the small humpback bridge near Annie’s and the Seafood Shack in Cortez. Islander Image: Manatee County Public Works

Cortez residents, Islanders and visitors to Anna Maria Island will have a bridge closure to deal with in the very near future - April 7.

It’s not the Anna Maria Island Bridge that’s closing, it’s the humpback bridge on 127th Street West, just a few yards north of the Cortez Road intersection.

The project is not being done by the Florida Department of Transportation, but the currently under-construction Bradenton Boat Club on Cortez Road.

Club owner Norman Burke said boats that will be stored at his facility need the additional clearance for safety. Additionally, the structure is in dire need of rehabilitation.

Although the DOT has noted that the bridge needs replacement, neither it nor the Manatee County Public Works Department currently have any plans for its rehabilitation. Rather than wait for government action, Burke decided to do the job himself, with the blessings of the DOT and Manatee County.

“Our concern was that the county would take way too long to get the project up on its priority list. The county did not even have it listed for renovation,” said Burke, although the DOT has the project No. 8 on its priority list of area bridges to renovate.

Burke said the bridge will close April 7 for an estimated 90-120 days. The cost of the project was put at between $750,000 and $1 million.

The closing will directly affect access to businesses and homes on 127th Street, most notably the Seafood Shack. Patrons of the restaurant will have to detour onto 119th Street West to reach the establishment. Residents living on the north side of the bridge will also have to utilize the 119th Street detour.

Customers can still reach businesses on the waterfront on the west side of 127th Street before the bridge. Those include Annie’s Bait and Tackle, YOLO Parasail and Florida Watersports and Manatee Marine Service.

The DOT will post a number of detour signs on Cortez Road and surrounding streets to alert motorists to the closure and alternate routes.

J.D. Allen Construction of Naples is renovating the bridge and building the Bradenton Boat Club, said Burke.

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