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Longboat Key Wednesday, Apr. 10, 2013 4 years ago

Bridge malfunctions stuck in minds

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Traffic was jammed throughout the first three months of this year, as tourists, snowbirds and spring breakers sought sun on Longboat and other beaches.

Still, it probably wasn’t as bad as it was the second week in April 2000.

That’s when the old John Ringling Bridge closed a record four times in the same week because of malfunctions.

Some skeptics told the Longboat Observer at the time that the closings were probably the result of a conspiracy on the part of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Sarasota City Commission amid the controversy surrounding the construction of a new fixed-span bridge.

But an FDOT official had a simpler explanation for the breakdowns.

“It’s old,” he said of the bridge that was built in 1958. “It needs to be replaced.”

+ Grand Bay VI was breaking news for Arvida Corp.
Arvida Corp. began breaking ground April 13, 1998, on Grand Bay VI — its final project on the Key.

The project began 39 years after Arvida, named for founder Arthur Vining Davis, bought John Ringling’s 2,000-acre real-estate holdings, including the southern half of Longboat Key, most of Lido Key and all of Bird, Otter and Coon keys, for $13.5 million in 1959.

The company’s largest developments on Longboat Key included Seaplace, Bay Isles, Bayou, Beachplace, Inn on the Beach and Fairway Bay.

+ Out with the old, in with the new Publix Supermarket
What a difference a year makes.

One year ago, on April 7, 2012, Longboat Key said “goodbye” to the old Publix. The store was built in 1980 and closed the day before Easter last year.

Longboaters survived eight months without a grocery store before cheering as the double doors opened last December to their new 49,000-square-foot store.

+ You can ring their bells
Longboat Key police didn’t just give a ringing endorsement to bells and sound devices on bicycles.
On April 16, 1987, police announced a two-week crackdown on bicycle path users that included spot checks for sound devices as the result of a lengthy discussion on the path’s hazards at a Longboat Key Town Commission meeting.


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