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Date of Issue: April 23, 2008

Bridge work continues, but most is unseen by public

4-23-08/ami-bridge.jpg
Outta sight!
Work on the Anna Maria Island Bridge rehabilitation project continues but crews last week were concerned primarily with repairs underneath the draw, particularly the fender system and timbers, as evidenced by this aerial photograph. Islander Photo: Jack Elka

With the Anna Maria Island Bridge accommodating a large volume of motorists heading to and from the Island last week, work crews for the Florida Department of Transportation’s bridge rehabilitation project concentrated their efforts on what’s underneath the span.

DOT spokesperson Audrey Clarke said that most of the work the past few weeks has “not been visible to the traveling public.”

Quinn Construction Co. of Palmetto, the primary contractor for the $9.1 million project, continued work on the piles and timbers fender system. They also began installing the temporary hydraulic cylinders and power units and placing the electrical conduit under the north overhang that will be needed to operate the draw when the bridge closes to vehicular traffic for 45 days on Sept. 29.

In addition, workers removed the buffer cylinders from both spans, removed rivets one at a time and replaced them with bolts, said Clarke.

She also noted that for the next two weeks the contractor plans to continue working on bulkhead and slope protection repair, concrete repairs, the fender system timbers and completing installation of the temporary hydraulics.

Clarke said the U.S. Coast Guard has placed its “Temporary Final Rule” on bridge-raising times during the 45-day closure period in the Federal Register.

During the closure period, the following rules for raising the Anna Maria Island and Cortez bridges for boat traffic will be in effect:

Anna Maria Island Bridge will be closed to navigation daily:

  • From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • From 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

At all other times, the bridge will open once an hour on the top of the hour.

The Cortez Bridge will be closed to navigation daily:

  • From 5:35 a.m. and 9:25 a.m.
  • From 1:35 p.m. and 9:25 p.m.
  • From 8 p.m. to 4:25 p.m.

At all other times, the bridge will open once an hour on the bottom of the hour.

These times will ensure no vessel gets “trapped” between the two bridges while sailing between the spans. Bridge operators will communicate with each other via telephone when vessels intend to traverse the two spans.

For more information on the Coast Guard rule, go to www.amibridgerehab.com. At that Web site, a link is provided to go to the Coast Guard temporary rule site. Additionally, a link to the ongoing project development and environmental study for a replacement bridge for the AMI Bridge is available.

People without Internet access can call 941-792-0369 for information on the bridge rehabilitation project.

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