MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Transportation leaders are inviting community members to weigh in on the replacement of the DeSoto Bridge in Manatee County.
The Florida Department of Transportation is holding a public hearing about plans for the future structure, Tuesday night. Patricia Pichette, a communications specialist with FDOT, said there are more than 90,000 trips over the bridge, daily.
The current bridge which connects the cities of Bradenton and Palmetto was built in 1957. The 1.3-mile structure stretches over the Manatee River with a total of four lanes, two in each direction.
According to project leaders, plans for a new bridge are similar to the current structure with a few additional features. New additions could include wider shoulders and a barrier separating a new path for pedestrians and cyclists.
Pichette assures local families, that the bridge replacement isn’t the only project underway to address the area’s growth and traffic.
“There’s another study running concurrently with this and it’s called the ‘Bradenton-Palmetto Connector.’ That study is far more wide-reaching. It’s looking at the entire area and saying, what are the traffic patterns, where is the congestion, where are the crashes, where are the new people who are moving to the area going to be living?” she said.
The DeSoto Bridge replacement is estimated to cost $168 million.
A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at the Manatee Performing Arts Center from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. A virtual meeting is scheduled for Thursday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Preregister for the online meeting here.