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Keystone Road widening is clipping along

The orange and white construction barrels along Keystone Road are signs of growth in northern Pinellas County.

Housing units in the suburban area jumped to more than 17,000 in 2007 from about 4,100 in 1980, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

And Tarpon Springs, for which a portion of Keystone Road snakes through, has seen its population rise from 21,000 in 2003 to 23,370 in 2008.

In an effort to keep up with the growth and the increasing number of vehicles traveling on the two-lane thoroughfare, Pinellas County has embarked on a road expansion project for Keystone Road from East Lake Road to U.S. 19.

The project also will connect the Pinellas Trail from Melon Street to East Lake Road.

Here's a closer look at specifics of the project:

What's the timeline?

Construction began July 12 and is expected to be completed in summer 2013.

What will this project accomplish?

A 3-mile stretch of Keystone Road will be widened from two to four lanes between U.S. 19 and East Lake Road South. The new divided highway will preserve space in the median for an ultimate six-lane road for future expansion.

There will be paved sidewalks and connections to the Pinellas Trail. Eleven stormwater retention ponds, more than 6 1/2 miles of drainage pipe and more than 30 retaining walls also will be constructed.

The cost

About $32 million.

Who's paying?

The Penny for Pinellas fund provides $25 million. The remaining balance comes from Pinellas County Utilities, the city of Tarpon Springs, Verizon and Clearwater Gas System, all of which are making infrastructure improvements as part of the roadway project.

How will traffic be managed during construction?

Lane shifts and closures will take place. Advance notification will be made available on the county's website and on message boards along Keystone Road.

When will the road be worked on?

Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; some night work also may be required.

How many vehicles travel on the road?

A 2007 study indicates that 34,000 cars per day were traveling between U.S. 19 and East Lake Road on Keystone Road. By 2027, it is expected that 42,000 cars per day will use the road.

What's happening now?

Utility crews have begun trimming trees and moving power poles in advance of relocating power lines along Keystone Road.

Right-of-way agreements and easements have been obtained to move existing utilities such as water, electric and telephone lines. The relocation of utility lines is the first step in the process of widening the road.

Information provided by Pinellas County government. Compiled by Demorris A. Lee, Times staff writer.

To learn more

Call: (727) 453-3355 E-mail: [email protected] Website: www.keystoneroad.com

Keystone Road widening is clipping along 08/07/10 [Last modified: Saturday, August 7, 2010 2:40pm]
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