Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bayshore Boulevard construction project grinds through delays

The city is adding bicycle lanes to Bayshore Boulevard. The first phase of the project should be done by Thanksgiving, a city official said.

SKIP O’ROURKE | Times

The city is adding bicycle lanes to Bayshore Boulevard. The first phase of the project should be done by Thanksgiving, a city official said.

BAYSHORE

The bottleneck on Bayshore Boulevard continues, and backups for drivers in the Bayshore and Davis Islands areas promise to get worse before they get better.

The Bayshore bike lane project, which started in March, was set to be completed this month. But hard rains and repairs to a stormwater box in the area contributed to delays, said David Vaughn, the city's director of contract administration.

Drivers face more bad news: The Platt Street bridge will close on Monday. The project to repair the bridge is expected to be done by Jan. 16, before the Gasparilla parade later that month.

The bridge is a major artery for Davis Islands residents and homeowners along Bayshore, not to mention employees at Tampa General Hospital.

The city is trying to coordinate its extended Bayshore project with the county's efforts to repair the bridge. The goal now is to finish construction from Rome to Swann avenues, including the landscaped median, by this weekend, which would allow drivers to use Swann as one of several detours from the bridge closure.

The timeline is key because the northbound lane of Bayshore will close between Swann and the bridge starting Monday. Motorists will still be able to drive south on Bayshore.

"We wanted to get everything completed to Swann, and we're almost there," Vaughn said. "We're hoping to get the sod in."

The construction is part of the first phase of a larger plan called the Bayshore Boulevard Enhancement Project. This phase extends along Bayshore from Rome Avenue to Platt Street and costs nearly $1.5 million, funded by state gasoline taxes. Now, Vaughn said, it will take a couple of more months to finish that phase along the signature stretch. The project should be done by Thanksgiving, he said, most definitely by Gasparilla.

The Bayshore project aims to get people around safely on bike or foot and includes:

• Adding bicycle lanes 4-feet wide in both directions

• Paring a six-lane section of the road between the Davis Islands Bridge and Rome Avenue to four lanes with a 14-foot-wide grassy median.

• Creating left-turn lanes for northbound traffic at Rome, Oregon, Willow, Newport, Delaware, Edison and Brevard avenues.

• Improvements to painted crosswalks and crossing signals at Platt Street and Bay-to-Bay Boulevard.

Some who use the road and linear park, as well as the bridge, feel the inconvenience will be worth the wait. Others aren't so sure.

Thom Davis, 42, says the Bayshore project, which will decrease the number of lanes, won't improve his commute. He now leaves his home 10 minutes earlier to drive downtown and plans to continue.

"Why close a lane on a main thoroughfare? It'll make this gridlock continue," he said.

Guy King lives on Bayshore and plans to take the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway to work until the bridge project is done. As for Bayshore, he expects going from three lanes to two each direction will calm traffic.

"We've all wanted some improvements," said King, president of Bayshore Boulevard Homeowners Association. "We're really inconvenienced, but I think we will appreciate the results."

Jeff Giles, 37, is thrilled with the project. He hopes the bike lane will pull cyclists off the 10-foot-wide Bayshore Linear Park bordering the bay where he likes to run. Once, Giles said, he was running when a speeding cyclist forced him off the path.

Giles actually lives in Seminole Heights and often rides his bike to Bayshore . But the boulevard is uneven and dangerous, he said.

While the new bike lanes may result in fewer riders on the sidewalk, the sidewalk will continue to be open to bicyclists, said Jean Dorzback, Tampa's transportation manager.

City officials, joggers, cyclists, pedestrians and association members have debated ways to make the road and the lengthy sidewalk trail safer since a jogger was killed in 2004.

Two upcoming phases in the Bayshore enhancement project will line the entire 4.5 miles of Bayshore — from W Gandy Boulevard to Platt — with bicycle lanes.

Mayor Pam Iorio created a task force to recommend changes and, in 2009, traffic engineers unveiled the improvement plan.

The second phase, estimated at $2 million, has a start date in 2014 and stretches between Rome and Howard avenues. That project will widen southbound Bayshore to add a bicycle lane. No changes are planned to the northbound road and current bicycle lane.

The final phase, estimated at $3 million, will stretch the southbound bicycle lane from Howard Avenue to north of Gandy Boulevard.

Ed Bonner, 78, lives on Bayshore and walks every day at sunrise. Although his commute to drop his wife off at work has been inconvenienced by the construction, he's glad the city is keeping the road up.

"This is the gem of Tampa," he said.

Elisabeth Parker can be reached at eparker@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3431.

Bayshore Boulevard construction project grinds through delays 09/29/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 5:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Search for missing Army helicopter crew suspended in Hawaii

    Military

    HONOLULU — Officials have suspended the search for five Army soldiers who were aboard a helicopter that crashed during offshore training in Hawaii last week.

    Water safety officials hand over possible debris from an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash to military personnel stationed at a command center in a harbor, Wednesday in Haleiwa, Hawaii, a day after. an Army helicopter with five on board crashed several miles off Oahu's North Shore. Officials  suspended the search for five Army soldiers in a helicopter crash during offshore training in Hawaii on Monday. [Associated Press]
  2. Rubio praises Trump for 'excellent' speech on Afghanistan

    Blogs

    Sen. Marco Rubio praised President Donald Trump's "excellent" speech on Afghanistan. Sen. Bill Nelson was less effusive but agreed with the goal.

  3. Gov. Rick Scott blasts report of shifting words on Charlottesville

    Blogs

    Gov. Rick Scott, one of the most scripted politicians in modern Florida history, said Monday that "both sides” bear blame for Charlottesville.

  4. Record $417 million awarded in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer

    Nation

    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman confirmed that a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. [Associated Press]
  5. Search under way for missing sailors; Navy chief orders inquiry

    Military

    SINGAPORE — The U.S. Navy ordered a broad investigation Monday into the performance and readiness of the Pacific-based 7th Fleet after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters, leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing and others injured.

    Damage is visible as the USS John S. McCain steers toward Singapore’s naval base on Monday.