BRADENTON -- The concrete pier that reaches far into the Manatee River from the south shore of the City of Palmetto is known as the Green Bridge Pier. But saltwater erosion has the near 100-year old structure in peril, so Palmetto officials met with Manatee County Commissioners at Tuesday's work session, to see what could be done to preserve what has become a treasured resource for local residents and visitors alike.
The old Green Bridge dates back to 1927. In 1986, a new Green Bridge was built, and local officials chose to demolish only half of the old structure, leaving a 2,000 ft. section off the City of Palmetto's shore as a fishing pier for local residents.
The Green Bridge with the rail line bridge in the foreground
photo by Dennis Maley
A detailed bridge inspection was conducted on the structure in early 2011 to determine its condition, and it was determined that large scale concrete and reinforcing steel was needed.
The saltwater environment had penetrated much of the underside concrete and had begun corroding the reinforcement steel. The inspectors concluded that without treatment and repair the decay would continue at an accelerated pace.
The pier has been a resource for fishing and riverside recreation for more than 20 years, and although the inspection discovered needed repairs, it reported no immediate structural issues.
Both county and city officials agreed, the pier was an asset, and if funding could be found, it should be preserved for as long possible.
The cost estimate for full-structure rehabilitation is more than $1,000,000 plus an additional $10,000 a year in maintenance. That scenario might carry the life of the bridge to the year 2043. If nothing was done to preserve the structure, it might only last 20 years, but the pier's fate would then demand it be demolished.
The workshop concluded with a consensus to look for funding that could carry the life of the pier into the 2043 date. Both local governments will be looking for funds from several grant sources.
The City of Palmetto has been successful at revitalizing much of its postcard imagery of what the real Florida is all about. The pier sits on one of the most scenic spots the river has to offer, and with help from the county, city officials believe its charm will compliment both sides of the Manate River.