PINELLAS PARK — Council members here are breathing a sigh of relief at hearing the state has dropped a proposal to build an elevated roadway at an intersection along Gandy Boulevard.
But they were less pleased at the news the state Department of Transportation does not intend to widen the existing overpass that crosses U.S. 19.
That overpass is already congested, Mayor Sandy Bradbury said. To widen Gandy without widening the bridge it feeds into will just increase the problem, she said.
DOT officials said they can't widen that intersection because there is no available land there for a right-of-way. The Shoppes at Park Place occupies the southwest corner of the intersection and the LaQuinta hotel occupies the northwest corner. Trying to get right-of-way from either would be cost-prohibitive, the DOT said.
The state is planning improvements to the Gandy corridor from just west of the U.S. 19 intersection to just east of the Interstate 275 intersection. The plan — with an estimated cost of $38 million — is part of a larger project of improvements along all of Gandy.
The portion of the project between U.S. 19 and I-275 will be done in three phases. The section from U.S. 19 to about 28th Street (Grand Avenue) take the roadway from four lanes to six lanes and include curbs, gutters and a median barrier. The section from 28th to the interstate will be expanded to six lanes, with curbs, gutters, a grass median, sidewalks, bike lanes and a pedestrian trail. The portion from the interstate to a spot east of that interchange will be six lanes with a grass median, bike lanes, sidewalks and a pedestrian trail.
The DOT had considered building an elevated roadway at the 28th Street intersection, the entrance to the Gateway Business Center. But Pinellas Park officials and business owners objected, saying a flyover would kill business.
Design of the improvements is expected to start later this year. Construction is not scheduled until 2021. The construction is not yet funded.
Anne Lindberg can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450. Follow @ALindbergTimes on Twitter.