The Cortez Bridge… Now What?

8qKr0cFThe original Cortez Bridge was a wooden structure built in 1921 to connect the fishing village of Cortez to what is now Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach. Prior to that construction, Anna Maria Island had been accessible only by boat.

Fast forward to today, and the current Cortez Bridge is the subject of spirited debate. The existing bridge was built in 1965 and has been deemed by the Florida Department of Transportation as having outlived its original 50-year lifespan. A recent repair project extended the bridge’s usefulness another 10 years, but FDOT officials warn that the bridge will continue to deteriorate due to “extremely aggressive” environmental conditions resulting from saltwater spray.

The big question has become, “now what?” Options under discussion include replacing the existing structure with a low-level drawbridge, a mid-level drawbridge, or a high-level fixed bridge. Another possibility is adding a new bridge to Longboat Key. There are pros and cons with every scenario, and many people have definite opinions about what should be done.

As time moves on, a decision will have to be made about the future of the Cortez Bridge. This process will certainly include much community input. We look forward to being part of that discussion and doing what we can to help the community make the best decision for all concerned.

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3 comments on “The Cortez Bridge… Now What?

  1. William F.

    We need BOTH a new, multi-lane connection to the island AND a new connection to the northern end of Long Boat Key! Why not a tunnel? Unlike a high bridge, it would not be closed by the high winds preceding a major storm!

    Just try to go anywhere in Cortez Road during the tourist season!

  2. Bob Mann

    Besides helping the community make a decision, you must be involved with the finances involved with replacing the bridge. Your new communities will bring you and your family many millions of dollars and cause severe additional stress to the bridge and surrounding communities. You and your family must be responsible members of the community and bear some of the costs. Your profits should take care of some of the burden.


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