I cause of great concern for Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island 34217 and the residents and tourist of Anna Maria Island is the Cortez Bridge.
When we vacation on Anna Maria Island we love to sit back, relax and enjoy the surrounding beauty.
Coming on or going off the island can be challenging at times. Turning onto Cortez Road or Manatee Avenue and then there you are, stopped. Looking ahead at the lineup of cars you see the Drawbridge starting to lift and you know you will be sitting there a while.
Some people say they don’t mind waiting on the bridge for the boats to pass. But, for those on vacation who plan to just quickly pick up a few things and get back to the Beach, waiting for the drawbridge can be frustrating. It looks like some relief has arrived.
The U.S. Coast Guard has reduced the number of bridge openings from three times to twice an hour at both the Anna Maria Island and Cortez drawbridges. Cortez Bridge, with a vertical clearance of 22 feet is on State Road 684.-Cortez Road. It spans the Intracoastal Waterway between the Village of Cortez and Bradenton Beach. The Anna Maria Island Bridge has a vertical clearance of 24 feet. It spans the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway connecting Perico Island to the East and Holmes Beach to the West.The Cortez Bridge near Bradenton Beach and Anna Maria Maria Island/ Manatee Avenue Bridge near Holmes Beach are now to be opened twice an hour instead of three times an hour from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. On demand from boaters the bridge will open at 15 and 45 minutes after the hour, daily, on a year-round basis. Both bridges are required to open on signal from boaters from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily. As per federal regulations any Public vessels — those owned and operated by the U.S. government, including the Coast Guard— a vessel in distress or vessels with tows may request an opening at any time.The Cortez and Manatee Avenue bridges are tended and the openings are logged 24 hours a day, seven days a week.A lengthy process, bridge timing discussions originated in 2014.  Traffic and congestion have been frequent topics of discussion at the Island Transportation Planning Organization (ITPO) meetings. ITPO includes the Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach mayors, Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) representatives and others. The MPO and island mayors requested in February to reduce the number of bridge openings. They stated that the surge of traffic previously associated with winter and spring tourism is now year round.The changes to the drawbridge opening schedules approved by The Coast Guard and The Florida Department of Transportation, which owns and operates the bridges, took effect October 5, 2017. According to the ruling the change provides reasonable needs to both land transportation and water navigation.

While vehicle wait time has been shortened, boaters adjust to the new bridge time openings. Next time going off or coming on the Island you might try to avoid 15 and 45 past the hour. That is, unless you enjoy watching the boats lined up to pass under the bridge, which is be a truly beautiful site. It’s your vacation, we’ll let you decide.

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Created by Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals

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