Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Construction work to create U-turn on East Lake Road

Cars stack up in the left turn area of the median at the intersection of Crescent Oaks Boulevard and East Lake Road earlier this year.


Cars stack up in the left turn area of the median at the intersection of Crescent Oaks Boulevard and East Lake Road earlier this year.

EAST LAKE — Two Mondays from now, a monthlong road construction project will begin at the intersection of East Lake Road and Trinity Boulevard near the Pinellas-Pasco border.

At the urging of nearby residents, Pinellas County will create a new northbound-to-southbound dedicated U-turn lane at that intersection. Drivers headed north on East Lake Road will be able to whip around and head straight back south.

Why is this necessary? The U-turn lane is partly for residents of Crescent Oaks community, who want a safer way to drive south.

Crescent Oaks' 440 homes are on the east side of East Lake Road, just north of Keystone Road and just south of the Pasco County line. The only way in or out is through the intersection of Crescent Oaks Boulevard and East Lake Road.

Right now, when people drive out of Crescent Oaks Boulevard and turn left across East Lake Road to go south, they must zip across two lanes of often-busy traffic, all the while hoping that no one else zooms down from the north just in time to cut in front of them. Residents compare it to playing Russian roulette.

Actually, what they really want is a traffic light on East Lake Road at their community's exit. They've been fighting for a traffic light for years, only to be disappointed.

Back in 2006, Pinellas County commissioners agreed to install a light, with one catch: Residents would have to pay the cost of designing, installing and purchasing the traffic light, estimated at $150,000 to $200,000. That proved to be a tall order.

Earlier this year, Crescent Oaks residents asked for a traffic light again after a series of three wrecks in a few months at that location.

Again, the answer was no. "Our primary concern is that to interrupt high-speed traffic on East Lake creates a higher crash potential than they're experiencing right now," Peter Yauch, the county's director of public works and transportation, said earlier this year. He has since left that position for a job in the private sector.

Crescent Oaks isn't giving up the fight.

"They're fearful that other communities will start asking for traffic lights," said John Miolla, president of the Crescent Oaks Community Association. "We're only asking because of the number of accidents."

So, a dedicated U-turn lane nearby at East Lake Road and Trinity Boulevard is a compromise.

The construction work is to start Dec. 3, and should take about a month, said Tom Washburn, manager of Pinellas County's traffic engineering section. Once the turn lane is finished, engineers will modify the timing of the traffic signal.

"All other traffic at the intersection will be stopped, and that will allow northbound drivers to make a U-turn," Washburn said. "Right now they can't really do that because there is no left turn lane there."

Mike Brassfield can be reached at or (727) 445-4151. Send letters to the editor at

Construction work to create U-turn on East Lake Road 11/23/12 [Last modified: Friday, November 23, 2012 7:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Top 5 at noon: Out of sight, out of mind: a Times investigation; PolitiFact: what's at stake in the tax debate? and more


    Here are the latest headlines and updates on

    Aaron Richardson Jr. talks to voices in his head at his father's bail bond business in St. Petersburg. Richardson has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   TIMES]
  2. It's not a game, but the names are all the same in this football family


    TAMPA — A coach yells across the field into a scrum of blue-and-white clad football bodies at Jefferson High: "Kim Mitchell! Kim Mitchell, come here!"

    These twins are not only identical, but they have almost identical names. Kim Mitchell III, left, and Kim Mitchell IV are  talented football players at Jefferson High with Division I-A college offers. Kim  III wears No. 22 and plays cornerback while Kim IV wears No. 11 and plays safety. (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)
  3. Did Hurricane Irma speed the end of Florida orange juice?


    Hurricane Irma plundered Florida's orange belt, leaving a trail of uprooted trees, downed fruit and flooded groves worse than anything growers say they have seen in more than 20 years.

    A large number of oranges lie on the ground at the Story Grove orange grove in the wake of Hurricane Irma on Sept. 13, 2017, in Lake Wales. [Photo by Brian Blanco | Getty Images]
  4. Merriam-Webster nods to foodie culture with these 11 terms it just added to the dictionary


    Joining "troll" (as in, a rude person on the Internet, not a bridge-dwelling creature), "alt-right" and "dog whistle," 11 food-related words were added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary this week. That's out of 250 new terms, a pretty good ratio that signals the ongoing shift toward a more food-obsessed culture, one …

    IPA is one of the words recently added to the dictionary.
  5. Largo's property tax rate to rise

    Local Government

    LARGO — City commissioners on Tuesday approved a higher property tax rate for next year.

    Largo Mayor Woody Brown favored a smaller tax increase than some other commissioners.