Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The bridge hand we've been dealt

Breaking news:
THE bridge to Anna Maria Island -- the destination that's the real reason our community is on the map -- is getting shut down for more than two months. Shut down! And everyone's stunned by the incredible news.

We bannered the story in Tuesday's editions with reactions from residents and local officials. And we came back today with reaction from those entrusted with our safety -- fire and police -- as well as publishing the Herald's editorial stance.

My question: How can our local officials be surprised by this? Where's the communication, the planning, the long-term vision? The island's economy is under enough of a strain without businesses having to now build this into their 2008 expectations. And living on the island has plenty of challenges, magnified moreso there than most of Manatee County by soaring insurance rates. Now the state government is telling them that their main access is going to be severed for 10 weeks.

Why aren't those we elect and pay to "get 'er done" working together? It's only October -- so start talking now.

We plan to keep asking and keep tabs on this work.



Anonymous said...

Well, 'git er done' ought to be the attitude, not the whiners. But do we really think the state needs 75 days? And does that include weekends and nights??

Anonymous said...

How are emergency services going to get north island residents to the hospital in a reasonable amount of time? Imagine 4:30 p.m. Friday and Joe Smith at Bean Point has a heart attack. He's got a minimum 45 minute ride?

Have they considered boats from Anna Maria Pier or similar options for acute emergency transport across the bay?

Anonymous said...

The emergency services is the biggest problem here. What if someone in Anna Maria had a heart attack or if there were an accident, how are the emergency response teams able to get off the island? and if something happened that needed more than just the fire/EMS personnel that they have out there right now, how is the Bradenton response team getting on the island. Are they Bayflighting everyone out? This is a huge problem that has to be addressed. Traffic concerns are also an issue. The Cortez Bridge already has an issue with traffic - the light backs all of the traffic up on a normal weekend day. Poor island businesses, no one is going to want to go to the island during that time...how are people supposed to pay their bills and make a living? Not everyone who lives on the island is rich (despite some people's beliefs), most people are long time residents or rent. These people are already struggling with increasing property taxes and insurance. Something has got to be done!

Anonymous said...

According to an "offical" there is no good time to close the Anna Maria Island Bridge for 75 days... have they ever considered September, October for the project...? Yes, hurrican season, but fewer residents and visitors and their proposed dates take it into hurrican season anyway... Where were our "elected" officials when these decisions were being made? The next County Commission meeting is surely going to be an interesting one!

Anonymous said...

And you're assuming they will actually finish on time? That's extremely optimistic. Who's going to hold the state's feet to the fire to get this done on time - or earlier? What a nightmare...