CLEARWATER — Pinellas County plans to improve a 2-mile stretch of Sunset Point Road, but a couple of things have to happen first:
• Penny for Pinellas money must become available.
• Residents will get a chance to give their opinions at a second public meeting about the project Thursday.
The road is two lanes from Keene Road to Alt. U.S. 19.
A traffic study conducted last year shows it carries 17,126 vehicles per day on its east end, but that figure drops off to 6,778 vehicles on the west end.
According to Jim Collins, division engineer for Pinellas County, Sunset Point Road will remain two lanes from Alt. U.S. 19 to Douglas Avenue, but it will be repaved and its drainage upgraded.
From Douglas Avenue to North Highland Avenue, it will be expanded to three lanes, meaning it would have a middle turn lane.
From North Highland Avenue to Keene Road, it will have four lanes and a median.
"(We're) always working to improve transportation and keep motorists moving,'' said Meg Korakis, Pinellas County spokeswoman.
The projected cost is $11.3 million. The money would come from Penny for Pinellas sales taxes.
The project has not yet been funded, but Collins said he's "optimistic'' it will soon move forward.
Homeowner Karen Sandini who has lived on Sunset Point Road for the past four years and is a vocal opponent of the project, plans to attend the meeting. She said the expanded road will encroach 10 feet into her land and reduce her property value by at least $30,000.
"I spent lots of money on landscaping and sprinklers,'' she said. "Nobody ever told me 'We're going to take your land from you.'''
The county's plan, she said, "will take my trees, shrubbery and privacy.''
Eileen Schulte can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4153.