Apparently FDOT has known since 2004 that the work that needed to be done on the Anna Maria Bridge would force it to be closed, yet failed to make this information publicly known in meetings.
- Knew at least 3½ years ago that the project would require a lengthy closure and that they needed to let the public know about it early and often
- Set the closure date without consulting local emergency officials
- Repeatedly missed opportunities to notify local officials about the pending closure even after it was set, despite the agency's fears that it would be seen as withholding information
- Didn't plan to hold public meetings on the closure until two months before it was set to begin.
Umm.....how do you know something 3.5 years ago and "forget" to notify the public as well as emergency officials that a closure would be necessary? Sounds pretty intentional to me!
Anyone that lives in the area, or visits the area knows how much of a PAIN it will be and who knows what will happen in an emergency situation once the bridge is closed. Once the bridge is closed, you will literally have to drive several miles south to Cortez Rd in order to cross over to the Islands, to then have to drive those same several miles north again in order to get back up to Anna Maria Island.
There are only 3 ways to get onto the Islands:
- Manatee Ave
- Cortez Rd
- Gulf of Mexico Dr via Sarasota (way out of the way)
Anyone that visits, lives or works on the Islands also knows what it's like when that 2 lane road of Gulf Dr. gets clogged up and backed up with traffic. You aren't going anywhere, anytime quickly!