Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Public safety

Ask Dr. Delay: I-275 ramp at Roosevelt getting more attention

Several readers have contacted the Doc with concerns about the northbound Interstate 275 off-ramp at Roosevelt Boulevard and the propensity for motorists to take the curve at unsafe speeds resulting in frequent accidents.

We looked at the past seven years of crash data from the state Department of Transportation, starting with 2005. Twelve crashes were reported from 2005 to 2007, three of which involved fatalities. The DOT opened an investigation in 2007 into the ramp and based on the findings, landscaping was removed to increase the line of sight for backed-up traffic on Roosevelt Boulevard. In addition, curve warning signs and speed feedback signs were installed. The following year (2008), four crashes were recorded, none of which involved fatalities.

Dynamic signs that alerted motorists to their speeds were removed in the summer of 2009 for construction of the County Road 296 connection, which opened in February 2011. During that period, six crashes were recorded: three rear-end collisions, two sideswipes and one vehicle that hit the ramp's barrier wall.

From March 2012 to November 2013, 11 crashes were recorded and DOT data indicate careless driving was a factor in each incident.

Kris Carson of the DOT says additional improvements are planned for both ramps — the northbound I-275 off-ramp to Roosevelt Boulevard and the County Road 296 ramp — which will include increased warning signs and delineation markers on the guardrail and barrier wall, pavement messages and overhead signs. The DOT will continue to monitor and reevaluate the crashes to determine whether improvements have reduced crashes on both ramps, Carson said.

It has taken forever to fix the intersection of north and south Starkey Road at Bryan Dairy Road and no one ever seems to be working there. Did they run out of money or supervision?

Sam Winer

According to a Pinellas County spokesman, two factors are the cause of the current delay in the project, which involves more than roadway improvement.

There is a significant amount of underground work on the water main and stormwater drainage that is being done in coordination with road work. The next phase of work on the intersection, which entails a traffic switch, was placed on hold last month due to rain.

The other delay is an apparent unforeseen issue with underground utilities owned by a private entity that must be relocated. This relocation has to be done by the utility owner before installation of the county's water main infrastructure, said Joseph DeMoss, engineering support services supervisor. The relocation is being worked out between the county's contractor and the utility company.

Once work resumes, the contractor will work seven days a week to make up for the lost time, DeMoss said, and the county anticipates that in spite of this recent snag, the project will remain within budget. The final completion date is still May 1.

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

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