SR 789's sole link between LBK, Bradenton Beach, and AMI is aging. It needs urgent attention.

Longboat Pass Bridge

The bridge was built in 1957 and last repaired in 2005. It is a vital route for normal travel, but it becomes especially crucial during evacuations.

Unveiling Longboat Pass Bridge's Future

We are presented with options that promise heightened functionality and amplified safety. The coming decision could reshape roads and redefine transit between these coastal communities.

New Longboat Pass Bridge

The Imperative for a New Bridge

The Longboat Pass Bridge is aging. It is vital but vulnerable, and it must evolve to meet current and future demands.

The bridge was built in 1957. It now needs updates to stay safe and improve traffic flow.

The bridge aims to improve corridor safety. It will upgrade paths for pedestrians and bicycles. The new bridge will make evacuations faster.

New Longboat Pass Bridge

Three Viable Replacements Detailed

The current Longboat Pass Bridge needs a transformative successor. Each option aims to improve safety and emergency responsiveness, which are critical concerns for both locals and authorities. Each has better clearance for navigation. They also allow faster emergency access.

Alternative 1 is a low-level bascule bridge: This option is tailored to sustain familiarity. It ensures a smooth visual shift from the old to the new. It would have a 23-foot minimum vertical clearance. This would reduce how often the drawbridge needs to open. This prospect improves sea passage. It also fits well with traffic flows. This will cut bridge openings by 4% and make the bridge stronger for emergencies.

Longboat Pass Bridge - Alternative 1 is a low-level bascule bridg

Alternative 2 is a mid-level bascule design: It has a bolder elevation with 36 feet of vertical clearance. The extra height lets 35% more marine traffic pass underneath without needing bridge lifts, making travel easier for both road and sea travelers. It cuts how often bridges open, reducing disruptions.

Longboat Pass Bridge - Alternative 2 is a mid-level bascule design

Alternative 3 advocates for a 78-foot fixed high-level bridge: It would improve the landscape and make bridge openings unnecessary. It proposes a clear path for mariners and would end the disruptions of drawbridge operations. Moreover, this fixed structure is designed to accommodate emergency evacuations easily and promote unbroken movement in crises.

Longboat Pass Bridge - Alternative 3 advocates for a 78-foot fixed high-level bridge

Weighing the No-Build Scenario

The No-Build alternative is a choice. It keeps the Longboat Pass Bridge as it is, without adding to or changing it. This is a sharp contrast to the innovative proposals presented.

As time goes on, the old framework could need more maintenance. This could block traffic more often than now. Resilience against harsh weather conditions may diminish, creating vulnerability during critical evacuation periods.

Refusing to upgrade may also stifle safety, cycling, and walking improvements. These are critical for modern transportation.

Finally, the No-Build scenario could severely limit our ability. It would limit our ability to adapt to rising environmental and transportation demands. This could lead to future problems that we could have avoided.

Impact on Traffic and Safety

Choosing the right bridge design for the Longboat Pass Bridge is crucial for looks, function, traffic, and safety. Bridges are vital arteries in our transport network. The chosen design needs careful consideration of traffic flow. This includes handling both current and future volumes. Safety parameters are key to the selection process. They demand a strong structure. This structure must minimize risk and maximize efficiency. It is very important to keep the road straight. This reduces disruptions during construction. Each choice has a clear impact on vehicle and ship movement. So, your assessment is critical. It will guide this infrastructure change.

Construction with Traffic in Mind

Reducing traffic disruption during construction is essential. It's a big part of the Longboat Pass Bridge project. We must keep paths accessible for residents and ensure they stay clear for emergency services. Both are top priorities.

Creating a construction plan that keeps traffic moving is not a side goal. It's a primary goal. Vehicle movement along SR 789 during the construction phase is guaranteed.

The construction strategy is synchronized with vehicular needs. It uses phased development to keep the bridge open, ensuring a balance between progress and the needs of local transport. It is for the community, businesses, and emergency evacuations.

Enhancing Safety Measures

Safety underpins the entire Longboat Pass Bridge overhaul project. How can we maximize this critical factor?

The Longboat Pass Bridge was built in 1957. Since then, it has aged significantly. This poses risks to safe passage. In response, the new design prioritizes structural integrity. It will safeguard all users of the corridor: vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Furthermore, incorporating state-of-the-art safety features and materials into the bridge's design is non-negotiable. The goal is to beat current safety standards. It should also meet future needs. This will ensure long-term security and toughness against harsh conditions.

Emergency evacuation is another critical safety aspect under scrutiny. The chosen design will make the bridge more resilient and help support swift evacuations in emergencies. This is a key goal. This foresight will help the local people in crises.

In the end, safety is not a standalone concern. It is a promise for the whole life of the bridge. It starts with design and continues through construction, maintenance, and daily operations. Your insights on this matter are crucial; please share them with us.

Your Voice Matters

Your input is invaluable in shaping the future of this critical infrastructure. I encourage each stakeholder to share their views and preferences. These will be crucial in the decision-making for the Longboat Pass Bridge.

Please visit the project website, engage with the materials there, and submit comments by March 25, 2024. This will ensure your voice is heard in this important task. Choose to make an impact. Which alternative aligns with your vision for the area? Share your thoughts and help sculpt our community's legacy.

How to Share Your Opinion

Your perspective is valuable in shaping the future of the Longboat Pass Bridge.

  1. Visit the project website at SWFLRoads to learn more. You can also submit your comments there.

  2. Email your thoughts to the FDOT Project Manager, Patrick Bateman, P.E., at

  3. Send a letter to Patrick Bateman, P.E., MS 1-40, at the Florida Department of Transportation. The address is 801 N. Broadway Ave, Bartow, FL 33830.

Ensure your voice is heard by submitting your feedback by the March 25, 2024 deadline.

Weigh the alternatives, considering the present and the decades to follow.

Posted by Steve Walter on
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