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Ask Dr. Delay: Are pavement markings temporary at new Roosevelt ramp?

Reader Frank Baptie asked us about the temporary pavement markings on the new ramp that branches off the northbound Interstate 275 exit (Exit 30) to Roosevelt Boulevard/118th Avenue. Baptie thinks the sharpness of the curve may be a tad dangerous for vehicles traveling at higher speeds.

Baptie wrote: "I don't know if the lines on the road are temporary or not, but the lane starts curving at a certain rate and then halfway around increases in sharpness. I can see where someone has skidded into the barrier already.''

We shared Baptie's note with John McShaffrey, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, who said that though the permanent markings won't be applied for about a month, the current alignment is correct.

"Our construction inspection team is aware of the skid and barrier wall strike, but … we have not noted any other indications that motorists are having a problem,'' McShaffrey wrote.

And part of the issue here, which the Doc has observed, is that drivers travel at higher speeds than they should along this ramp, not to mention talking on cell phones. It goes without saying that motorists need to pay closer attention when navigating new ramps and roads with which they are not familiar. As McShaffrey pointed out, combining distracted driving and speeding on ramps with sharp curves and merge points is particularly dangerous.

Construction work puts signal out of synch

Reader Michael Page alerted us that a change of sequencing of the traffic lights at the junction of the Pinellas Bayway and the road from Tierra Verde (State Road 679) is creating significant backups.

Page wrote: "The green light, which allows the traffic from Tierra Verde to go west on the Bayway, stays on a really long time, way past when any traffic has passed through. The result of this is that eastbound traffic on the Bayway is held up for ages, much longer than I have ever known it. At peak times this extra delay causes eastbound traffic to be backed up over the Pinellas Bayway Bridge.''

The state is in the process of reconstructing the traffic signal to a mast arm installation and the construction is likely the cause of the disruption to the detection equipment. Kris Carson of the DOT told us the project will take six to eight weeks to complete and the signal will operate in a fixed time mode for most of that time. So in the meantime, patience, as the signal will not adjust based on traffic demand.

Money woes hold up Roosevelt project

If you've been mourning the razing of the Sunshine Speedway, you're probably also wondering what happened to the plan to use part of the County Road 296 project to connect I-275 to the flyover ramp of Roosevelt Boulevard. CR 296, which is 102nd Avenue west of Seminole Boulevard and Bryan Dairy Road east of Starkey Road, will indeed eventually connect all the way to the ramp at Roosevelt. It's still on the agenda and the aim is to alleviate traffic on the Ulmerton Road/Roosevelt corridor. There's no money for it yet, but we'll keep you updated.

Barricade watch

Repairs to CSX railroad lines will require the DOT to close sections of Ulmerton Road and Park Boulevard beginning later this week.

Part of Ulmerton will be closed Friday through Sunday. The closure will begin at 6:30 a.m. Friday and is to end Sunday evening. Traffic will be detoured from westbound Ulmerton to northbound Starkey Road to westbound East Bay Drive to southbound Seminole Boulevard.

Park Boulevard will be closed the weekend of April 1-3 beginning at 6:30 a.m. April 1 and reopening the evening of April 3. Traffic will be detoured from westbound Park Boulevard to southbound 49th Street to westbound 54th Avenue N to northbound 66th Street.

Until next week, happy and safe motoring!

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at docdelay@yahoo.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Questions selected for publication may be edited for space and clarity.

Ask Dr. Delay: Are pavement markings temporary at new Roosevelt ramp? 03/12/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 12, 2011 3:30am]
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