Both the Anna Maria Island Bridge and the Cortez Bridge are now operating on a new schedule.
After a near five-year effort on the part of the Coalition of Barrier Island Elected Officials, the new times were put into effect Feb. 21 by the U.S. Coast Guard’s Seventh District in Miami.
Under the new rules, the bridges will be raised from Jan. 15 to May 15 on the hour and half-hour on demand by boaters between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. From 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. the bridges will be raised on signal from a boater.
From May 16 to Jan. 14, the bridge opening times will be on demand on the hour and every 20 minutes thereafter from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Michael Lieberum of the Seventh District in Miami confirmed the new times are now in effect.
The BIEO had requested the change to allow traffic during the busy winter tourist season more time to clear the traffic light at the Gulf Drive-Cortez Road and the Manatee Avenue-Gulf Drive intersections before the bridge is raised. BIEO members from Longboat Key had been particularly vocal in calling for the time change.