Project Info:

Location: Manatee County, Florida

Role: Prime

Owner: Florida Department of Transportation

Client: Florida Department of Transportation

Construction Cost: $75,000,000


  • Bridge Replacement
  • Highway/Roadway Design
  • Maintenance‐of‐Traffic (MOT) Plan Development
  • Prestressed Concrete Bridge Design
  • Environmental Assessment
  • Substructure Design
  • Retaining Wall Design
  • Lighting Design
  • Stormwater/Pavement Drainage Design
  • Public Outreach/Involvement
  • Visualization
  • Bike/Ped Facility Planning/Design
  • Final Plans, Specifications, and Estimates (PS&E)
  • Agency/Stakeholder Coordination


Cortez Bridge (SR 684) is an undivided two‐lane, low‐level bascule structure that spans the Intracoastal Waterway. Having reached the end of its service life, the bridge is functionally obsolete and structurally deficient; it lacks shoulders, curbs, and railings that meet current standards; and it continues to degrade due to the naturally corrosive environment, requiring continual repairs. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has elected to replace the bridge with a new structure. As prime design consultant, Lochner is providing project management, design, permitting, and modeling services.

Lochner’s design of the high‐level fixed replacement bridge will allow the passage of most boats while also eliminating the traffic delays associated with opening a bascule span. The proposed bridge is nearly 3000 feet long with one lane of traffic in each direction, ample shoulders, and sidewalks on either side. Composed of 20 spans using Florida I‐Beams, the design maximizes span length and minimizes the number of piers in the waterway. The span arrangement provides a 100‐foot horizontal clearance between the proposed fender systems on either side and a 65‐foot vertical clearance relative to the mean high‐water elevation adjusted for sea level rise. Although the replacement bridge will be located to the north of the existing bridge, right of way constraints will cause the new and existing bridges to overlap, making phased construction critical for success.

To engage various community groups concerned with the new bridge’s aesthetics, Lochner is working with a five‐person bridge aesthetics committee (BAC) to steer the look and feel of the bridge. The BAC will help determine bridge lighting, pier shapes, concrete colors, MSE wall decorative panel patterns, bridge footing exposure, bridge overlooks, and landscaping underneath the end spans. As an added feature, Lochner has developed a virtual reality model that allows users to view the new bridge from the vantage point of a driver, pedestrian, or cyclist. This approach has made visualizing the finished bridge easier for stakeholders