U.S. 41 bridges in Palmetto to close for weeks

Big delays are coming for drivers who take U.S. 41 between Bradenton and St. Petersburg.

For the next several weeks, both bridges over U.S. 301 will be closed as contractors raise the bridge 18 inches.

Drivers will have to detour using the north and southbound off- and on-ramps.

State transportation leaders say over the past seven weeks, four 18-wheelers have ran into the bridge, and it's happened many more times over the years.

The initial plan was to work overnight and raise the bridge an inch a night, but after review, contractors decided it'd be easier to do it all at once.

With 21,500 cars using the bridge in each direction daily, FDOT anticipates a minimal delay.

Palmetto police officers will regulate traffic 24 hours a day in order to keep cars moving.

At a cost of $3.5 million - including concrete work and barricades - the project is expected to be completed this fall.

The bridge should be open in three weeks, weather permitting.