Saturday, June 23, 2018
News Roundup

Local and state agencies work on mystery puddle in front of Countryside High

Ever since recent water main work in front of Countryside High School was done, there has been a constant large puddle of water in the southbound lanes of McMullen-Booth Road. Clearly, water is leaking from some defect next to or under the road there. Has no one else noticed this? Is the roadway in danger of a sinkhole-like collapse that would cause a traffic nightmare? Just curious if you had any knowledge of this situation.

Jeff Whitehurst

The ongoing puddle of water has been noticed by many people, judging from the volume of mail the Doc has received about this in the past three months. We have been making inquires about this issue since February.

In March, we heard back from Steve Allen of the county's Department of Environment and Infrastructure. Allen said that he had checked the county's data and found no activity indicative of a street repair/repave in the area. Allen said that according to Pinellas County field technicians, the standing water is related to roadway depressions close to stormwater catch boxes along the corridor.

Kris Carson of the state Department of Transportation told us last month that the DOT's asset maintenance contractor has been conducting an investigation of the storm system. "Additionally, the city of Clearwater should be in the process of inspecting the sanitary sewer system within that area. When we find out what system is causing the issue, repairs will be scheduled," Carson wrote in an email.

The latest update from Pinellas County's traffic engineering department is that a meeting has been scheduled for next week to formulate an action plan to address the situation. Following the meeting, Pinellas County public works staff will meet with the DOT, Pinellas County Schools, and the city of Clearwater to coordinate plans.

"The current thought is to get everything prepared so they can mobilize after the school's current session ends on June 7 to minimize disruption to the traveling public," said Debra Jaramillo, studies and investigations manager with Pinellas County public works and traffic engineering.

An ongoing problem at the northbound I-275 on-ramp at Pinellas Point Drive S is no visual clue, including no sign or pavement marking, that the very, very long on-ramp will suddenly end beyond the crest of a rise, placing the ramp traffic in I-275 traffic. There is no right shoulder or optional route. The warning sign for northbound I-275 traffic that there will be traffic entering from the right is an ordinary sign on the left of the three or four lanes. Perhaps the right lane should be the lane being warned.

Irma Wehle

We shared your note with the state Department of Transportation; the DOT will place two sets of standard arrow/merge pavement markings for this on-ramp to alert drivers to the approaching merge.

Barricade watch

The traffic configuration change at the intersection of Ulmerton Road and Automobile Boulevard, which went into effect earlier this week, is scheduled to end May 12. The temporary shift is needed to enable the elevation of the new roadway above the existing pavement. Construction at the intersection requires closure of the entrance to Automobile from Ulmerton Road, diverting traffic to the temporary entrance. Outbound traffic will need to detour to 49th Street via 126th Avenue.

Email Dr. Delay at [email protected] to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Follow @AskDrDelay.

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