Long-range planning begins for possible replacement of 60-year-old drawbridge.
The Florida Department of Transportation wants to hear from residents, business owners and others about a proposal to improve State Road 789 from the north end of Longboat Key to the south end of Bradenton Beach, including the Longboat Pass bridge.
An in-person public-kickoff meeting is planned for 5 p.m., March 23 at the Longboat Key Club’s Harbourside Ballroom, though there are other methods of delivering comments about the state of the road and bridge and suggestions on what might come next.
The Project Development and Environment study for that ¾ mile stretch between North Shore Road and the Coquina Beach parking entrance is designed to document potential environmental and engineering effects of the work and will include consideration of alternatives, including a no-build option.
Though the $2.1 million for the preliminary study is funded, there is not yet funding for design, right-of-way acquisition or construction.
In proposing the work, the state transportation agency will consider:
- Bridge deficiencies to address structural integrity and operational deficiencies;
- Potential for improvement of multimodal transportation;
- Improvement of emergency evacuations.
Alternatives to be considered included continued maintenance of the 64-year-old drawbridge, replacement of it with a new drawbridge or replacement with new high-level fixed bridge.
Information on the project can be found here. Anyone wishing to comment on the proposal can either attend the March 23 meeting or deliver comments remotely.
FDOT encourages participation in the online component through the project website or to the FDOT Project Manager, Patrick Bateman, FDOT District One, MS 1-40, P.O. Box 1249, Bartow, 33831 or [email protected]. Comments must be received or postmarked by April 2.
According to an FDOT study schedule, a public hearing on the proposed path forward for the project is envisioned in late 2022 or early 2023 with conclusion of the PD&E study by summer of 2023.
In 2019, maintenance work and upgrades to structural, electrical and mechanical components of the bridge took place in a $5.2 million collection of upgrades and repairs.The bridge is considered safe. But because of the deterioration rates of components in the saltwater environment, this project was necessary.