FDOT in­vited com­ments on its work plan in Manatee

The Bradenton Herald - - News - BY JAMES A. JONES JR. ja­[email protected]­ton.com

Sev­eral dozen res­i­dents showed up Thurs­day for a Florida Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion ePublic hear­ing on its draft ten­ta­tive five-year work pro­gram at Detwiler’s Farm Mar­ket on some sorely needed and of­ten con­tro­ver­sial road and bridge im­prove­ment projects.

The event was called an ePublic hear­ing be­cause FDOT was en­cour­ag­ing res­i­dents to go on­line to learn more about the projects, which in Manatee County in­cludes In­ter­state 75 in­ter­change improvements, a po­ten­tial third bridge over the Manatee River be­tween Braden­ton and Pal­metto, down­town Braden­ton traf­fic improvements and more.

FDOT com­mu­nity li­ais“It’s on Jesten Abra­ham was at the en­trance to Detwiler’s to hand out copies of the ten­ta­tive work pro­gram and an­swer ques­tions from res­i­dents.

Sev­eral of the res­i­dents were un­happy with the for­mat of the ePublic hear­ing and called it a waste of time.

Bill Hor­ton, a res­i­dent of Bel Mare at Riviera Dunes, was most con­cerned about the pos­si­bil­ity that a fly­over bridge might re­place the De­Soto Bridge be­tween Pal­metto and Braden­ton. Many res­i­dents have pre­vi­ously pub­licly ex­pressed their op­po­si­tion to a fly­over.

“They have a very bad rep­u­ta­tion of mak­ing com­mu­ni­ties go down­hill,” Hor­ton said.

Jack Fow­ell of El­len­ton came want­ing to know more about the In­ter­state 75 in­ter­change improvements planned at U.S. 301.

much needed. I would like to know what is go­ing on and what’s go­ing to change,” Fow­ell said.

FDOT is plan­ning $190 mil­lion in improvements there with con­struc­tion sched­uled to start in the fall of 2019.

Among changes planned at the I-75 in­ter­sec­tion are new bridges con­structed over the Manatee River to ac­com­mo­date up to 10 traf­fic lanes, a new north­bound exit ramp and a new south­bound en­trance ramp.

Ken Bum­gar­ner, chair­man of the Water­lefe Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Dis­trict, also came to the ePublic hear­ing con­cerned about traf­fic back­ups on Up­per Manatee River Road, af­ter the con­struc­tion of the Fort Hamer Bridge.

Traf­fic of­ten backs up to the bridge from school cross­ing zones south of Water­lefe, Bum­gar­ner said.

Abra­ham in­formed Bum­gar­ner that Up­per Manatee River Road is a county re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Abra­ham said pub­lic in­put gath­ered dur­ing the ePublic hear­ings will be used to pro­duce a fi­nal ten­ta­tive five-year work pro­gram, which will be pre­sented dur­ing the 2019 ses­sion of the Florida Leg­is­la­ture.

For more on the ten­ta­tive work plan, visit swflroads.com. Click on fu­ture projects, and scroll down to the bot­tom of the page.

FDOT will ac­cept com­ments re­ceived by Dec. 28. You can mail com­ments to L.K. Nan­dam, P.E., dis­trict sec­re­tary, FDOT, 10041 Daniels Park­way, Fort My­ers, FL 33913, at­ten­tion Wayne Gaither, South­west Area of­fice di­rec­tor, or email com­ments to [email protected]

JAMES A. JONES JR. ja­[email protected]­ton.com

The Florida Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion held an ePublic hear­ing in Pal­metto to en­cour­age res­i­dents to learn about the draft ten­ta­tive five-year work pro­gram.

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