Bridge engineers urged to preserve fishing village

MANATEE – Manatee County representatives Monday urged state bridge engineers to avoid destroying the Cortez fishing village when planning the future of the Cortez Bridge.

Islands residents “truly want to protect the Cortez fishing village economy,” said Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore.

She said she feared a new large, fixed-span bridge would “destroy” it.

The two-lane drawbridge built in 1956 is deteriorating, and Florida Department of Transportation engineers are evaluating what should be done to rehabilitate, repair or replace it.

Historic Cortez Village, hub of a busy commercial fishing industry, sits at the eastern end of the bridge, which connects Cortez on the mainland to Anna Maria Island.

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