Thursday, May 24, 2018
News Roundup

Downtown Safety Harbor streets will close for Bayshore stormwater project

SAFETY HARBOR — The worst of it comes last.

A nearly completed $2.2 million construction project aims to alleviate flooding along S Bayshore Boulevard, but first it's going to tangle downtown Safety Harbor traffic.

The city begins detouring cars Tuesday near the east end of Main Street. It's the first of two phases of road closures over the next six weeks.

"There is no good time to do that, but it has to get done," said city spokesman Brad Purdy. "We planned it out as best we could to get people around that site. It's not going to be convenient, and it's not ideal at all."

Construction crews need to dig up the roads to replace underground stormwater pipes, Purdy said.

The first closure will occur on Bayshore Boulevard between the city marina and the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa, without impeding access to those facilities, he said. Traffic will shift to Second Avenue S.

Starting Sept. 18, the city will also shut down the busy intersection of Bayshore Boulevard, Main Street and Philippe Parkway.

Both phases will keep the roads closed until Oct. 15.

"We're going to try to keep that footprint as small as possible," Purdy said, adding that the city will attempt to avoid blocking businesses or street parking.

The major road closures follow about a year of construction on Bayshore Boulevard. City officials postponed the work while the Tennessee delegation stayed in Safety Harbor for last week's Republican National Convention.

The first phase might create a business boost at Dominics Italian Grille and Pizzeria on Main Street, said employee Joe McDougall, because traffic will flow in front of the restaurant.

But the second phase routes cars around the block, which McDougall said could cause the pizzeria to lose walk-in customers.

On the other side of Main Street, merchant B.J. McMullen Lehman anticipates slow business at her McMullen Flower Shop.

"People won't have any place to park," she said. "They won't have any way to come down this way."

Construction might deter walk-in customers, but she hopes loyal patrons will carry her through the six weeks and she expects to take more orders over the phone.

The construction project is a badly needed fix for a road with a history of flooding, said city engineer Bill Baker. With Bayshore Boulevard at the same elevation as the bay, water pooled during rainstorms without having anywhere to go.

"It was kind of a stalemate at times," Baker said.

While flooding issues can't be completely resolved, the project changed the slope of the road — "surgically, almost," Baker said — to improve stormwater runoff. The city also installed new stormwater pipes under the road.

Other new stormwater features include seven big, $70,000 treatment devices underground that filter debris, he said. Grass and plants in several small ditches, called swales, absorb pollutants from the runoff.

"It's not just an improvement of a road," Baker said. "It's the hope that we can improve the water quality that's going into Tampa Bay."

He estimates the changes will reduce the amount of pollution flowing into the bay by 7,300 pounds annually.

The project won two grants because of its goal to mitigate pollution, he said: $800,000 from the Southwest Florida Water Management District and $1.3 million from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The city of Safety Harbor will cover $800,000 of the cost of the construction, which will also replace old sewer and water lines under the road.

After the roads reopen, the city will repave Bayshore Boulevard. All the work wraps up in mid-November, Baker said.

The project has taken a little longer than expected, he said, with delays for the RNC and for some construction materials. Crews were also surprised to find a layer of clay under the road, which kept water from draining properly until they could pipe around it.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at (727) 445-4155 or [email protected]

To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

Comments
Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays' pitching rotation for the weekend series against the Orioles could have a familiar look: Romo, Romo, Romo.Manager Kevin Cash said using veteran right-handed reliever Sergio Romo as the "opener" in all three upcoming g...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Willy Adames was so excited to be in the big leagues, even if was for just a three-day cameo callup. So thrilled to make a smashing debut with a homer on Tuesday. So proud to have his parents and sister fly in from the Dom...
Updated: 5 hours ago
‘This looks bleak.’ Game 7 loss short circuits Lightning fans

‘This looks bleak.’ Game 7 loss short circuits Lightning fans

TAMPA — Nick Genovese was anxious.The 21-year-old from Land O’Lakes had come to Thunder Alley outside Amalie Arena hoping to see the Tampa Bay Lightning triumph over the Washington Capitals in Wednesday night’s Eastern Conference winner-take-all Game...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning’s season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

Lightning’s season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

TAMPA — The Lightning's dream season ended late Wednesday with the final horn, or, if you prefer, early in the second period of Game 5, when it scored its last goal of the Eastern Conference final.How about that? The team with the most regular-...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay had its chances. Here are the best ones

Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay had its chances. Here are the best ones

TAMPA — Yanni Gourde said he will have to see a replay to know just how it got away, but even in a lopsided 4-0 loss like Wednesday night, he'll remember the puck in front of an empty net, and the missed opportunity that encapsulated a frustrat...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

In a way, the timing of RHP Jake Faria's oblique injury seemed manageable in that RHP Nathan Eovaldi is close to coming off the disabled list and can step in. But on the other hand, the Rays finally could have four regular starters. Imagine that.Ther...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: A hurt that could last forever

Lightning-Capitals: A hurt that could last forever

TAMPA — This one stings. And it will ache for a long time. Maybe forever in these parts.Another chance for a Stanley Cup. Another disappointment. As the Lightning skated off the ice after losing Wednesday night's Game 7 of the Eastern Conferenc...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Woman hit, killed while crossing road in Tampa

TAMPA — A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing N 40th Street near E Hanlon Street on Wednesday night, according to Tampa police.The crash took place just before 8 p.m. The driver was heading north on 40th Street before strikin...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

After a prominent Hillsborough County developer died last month in North Carolina, word spread it was a heart attack that claimed his life.But records from that state show the death of William "Bill" Bishop was much more complicated.His 16-year-old s...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 4-0 loss in Game 7

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 4-0 loss in Game 7

TAMPA — Forget Vegas.The Lightning have left the building.No more season. No more watch parties. No more anything.There is no way around it. Jon Cooper's team couldn't finish, not in Game 7 at home, not in the Eastern Conference final...
Updated: 6 hours ago