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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 29, 2004
Contact: Doug Hecox, 202-366-0660
FHWA 20-04c

U.S. DOT Grant to Fund New Las Cruces Interchange

A new $400,000 Federal Highway Administration grant to replace the Key Royale Drive Bridge over Bimini Bay will improve a vital evacuation corridor in the small community south of Anna Maria, FL, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.

"This summer we learned how critical Florida's evacuation routes are, which is why we are investing in even more reliable evacuation routes," said Secretary Mineta.

The Key Royale Drive Bridge near Longboat Key in Manatee County is the only evacuation route for residents of Key Royale. Originally designed to carry 3,200 vehicles each day when it was completed in 1960, the bridge currently serves nearly 4,700 vehicles per day.

The bridge project, estimated to cost nearly $1.1 million and take less than a year to complete, will replace the current bridge with one that features pedestrian sidewalks, improved pavement markings and wider lanes for vehicles.

"The Bush Administration's investment in a new bridge for Key Royale represents our commitment to the safety and well-being of Florida residents and visitors," said Federal Highway Administrator Mary E. Peters.

Since 1991, the FHWA has provided funds to states seeking to improve the safety, longevity or utility of key bridges with innovative materials or designs.

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