MANATEE COUNTY (WWSB) -Drivers should be aware of an upcoming bridge project on the northern end of Longboat Key.
The Longboat Key Pass Bridge connects Longboat Key to Anna Maria Island at Coquina Beach.
Florida Department of Transportation Public Information Specialist, Brian Rick, said the bridge has been pretty reliable for the last 52 years, but it is due for an update to make sure the the bridge remains safe
Starting in May, FDOT will start the project that includes repairing things like the grid deck that cars drive over, the concrete beams, the sidewalk, and railings. Along with that, they will be repainting parts of the structure and doing bridge erosion protection.
Rick said the bridge will still be accessible during the six month long project, with one lane closures happening during weekdays from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
“We are not permitting lane closures of any kind to occur from Friday at 9 p.m. to Sunday at 9 p.m. So on the weekends it will not impact motorists and will not impact residents and visitors,” Rick said.
Along with making sure drivers are safe during this project, FDOT wants to protect the bat population that lives under the bridge.
FDOT is working with FWC to install a plastic escape tube before the project begins that will allow bats to leave the bridge before their bat mating season starts this summer. However, the structure doesn’t allow the bats to get back into the bridge, so they will remain safe during construction. Once construction is over, the structure will be removed and the bats will be able to come back.
The project costs about $3.7 million and is set to be complete by the end of the year.