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U.S. 19 ramps, merge lanes cause confusion

Ongoing concerns about the new frontage roads related to the 126th Avenue overpass on U.S. 19 have kept the Doc's inbox full lately. Residents of the Springwood II subdivision, off U.S. 19, are dismayed by the new configuration of the traffic flow and are put out by the rigmarole they now have to go through in order to exit their neighborhood and head north on 19.

JoEtta Hertel wrote:

"I have an issue with the southbound frontage road just north of the Springwood II Community. There was always one lane and after the construction there were two lanes that merged into one, and that's okay. However, they originally painted the "merge" sign with the arrow to merge left instead of right. They must have realized their error, but to fix it they painted the sides of the street and put those bumps on the right hand and painted marks across the right side and this ends at the entrance of Springwood II. Why would you merge toward the overpass? When traffic exits from U.S. 19 we are in the left lane, making it difficult to merge. This happens only in the southbound direction. It's bad enough that I have to turn right out of my subdivision, merge onto U.S. 19, then take the 49th Street N exit, then drive on 49th Street to an entrance ramp to get back onto U.S. 19 to go north. I don't know who plans these construction projects, but I can tell you one thing, when you see this type of "fix" and planning, you know a woman wasn't present!"

Marian Scorza of the state Department of Transportation told us the project on U.S. 19 between 49th Street and 118th Avenue was designed to alleviate congestion and to also provide access to residential and business properties using the frontage roads. The design called for southbound traffic to be directed to a single left lane.

Scorza said the pavement markings were changed to the right side of the road in order to create a consistent lane from 118th Avenue to 49th Street.

"The U.S. 19 exit ramp located just south of Springwood II is designed as a continuous lane adjacent to the southbound frontage road. This allows motorists to exit from U.S. 19 onto the frontage road and motorists traveling on the frontage road to merge onto U.S. 19. As people become more accustomed to the new ramps, it is expected that traffic will flow more easily in this area," Scorza said.

TIA interchange

More time to merge

Last Sunday's column highlighted reader concerns about the new interchange south of Tampa International Airport. Readers had contacted us to complain that the configuration was difficult to maneuver and that motorists not heading to the airport were not able to merge in time and were ending up having to drive onto TIA grounds then turn around in order to get to head north.

In particular, the merge from the exit off the Howard Frankland bridge to the northbound lanes toward Eisenhower offer motorists very little time to execute the necessary merge in order to avoid the tour of the TIA terminal. Reader Alan Petrillo guesstimated that he had around four seconds to safely complete the merge.

We shared these concerns with the FDOT and Petrillo contacted the Doc last week to happily report that the merge has since been lengthened a tad. But even a tad can help.

"So now instead of four seconds to merge you have nine seconds to merge. It may not sound like much, but the extra five seconds makes a world of difference at highway speeds," Petrillo said in an e-mail.

DUHME ROAD

Water leak closes lane

Seminole readers have e-mailed us this week asking about the unscheduled lane closure and digging that's happening on northbound Duhme Road. Some are wondering if a sinkhole has opened up there. The answer is that a water leak was discovered at the corner of Seminole Drive and Duhme Road. The work we're seeing is a water valve repair.

Doc Delay is on twitter! Get news from the road at www.twitter.com/DocDelay. Please e-mail Dr. Delay at docdelay@yahoo.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions.

U.S. 19 ramps, merge lanes cause confusion 02/06/10 [Last modified: Saturday, February 6, 2010 3:30am]
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