Calling Cortez “unique,” the Florida Department of Transportation Secretary stressed the importance of hearing from the community as the future of the Cortez Bridge is determined.
“I think it is incumbent upon the department to realize that it is different,” Jim Boxold said at Monday’s Manatee Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Renaissance on 9th. “It is unique and that we’ve got to come up with a solution to meet those needs.”
In early 2017, there will be a public hearing about four alternatives — a 21-foot vertical clearance drawbridge, 35-foot vertical clearance drawbridge, 65-foot vertical clearance fixed bridge and a no-bridge repair option — “to make sure that we get the right solution for Cortez,” Boxold said.
During the chamber’s VIP luncheon, members from the business community, as well as elected officials including several county commissioners, heard from the head of the state’s transportation department. He highlighted several major projects either underway or coming to Manatee County.
“The investments that we make, make a tremendous difference to the businesses and the people that live here,” Boxold said.
Among the projects that Boxold highlighted are the Interstate 75 and State Road 70 interchange project, which has been accelerated to 2018 for construction; the I-75 at U.S. 301 interchange project, which has been advanced from 2099 to 2020; the Anna Maria Bridge, which is in the design phase for a high-level, fixed replacement bridge; and the Central Manatee Network Alternatives Analysis, for which project recommendations are expected in spring 2017.
“FDOT tries in every way possible to work with us to handle the problems that we have,” Manatee Commission Chairwoman Vanessa Baugh said during the luncheon. “We appreciate all the efforts that come into Manatee County through FDOT.”
Florida’s first diverging diamond interchange, which is being built at I-75/University Parkway, is an example of innovation, Boxold said.
“It is the first of its kind in Florida and I will make a tremendous difference in the function of that interchange,” he said, adding that it will be complete before the 2017 World Rowing Championships next fall.
For the last three years, the FDOT has had record funding in excess of $10 billion, Boxold said.
“The more we invest in transportation the better our economy does. The better our economy does the more we need to invest in transportation,” he said.
Florida is recognized as a leader in transportation across the country, Boxold said.
“That’s the thing about transportation, if we are doing our job right and if it’s working, people don’t even think about it,” he said.
Sent from my iPad