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Ask Dr. Delay: What's up with construction at Snell Isle Bridge?

Readers who regularly traverse the historic Snell Isle Bridge, which crosses Coffee Pot Bayou and connects both the Snell Isle and Shore Acres neighborhoods to the mainland, know work has recently been under way. But the extent of the work and the schedule for completion have prompted plenty of readers, including Nancy Sanford, to contact the Doc for details.

Sanford wrote for two reasons — first, to praise the dedication and craftsmanship of the crew: "Hats off to the guys doing the work. They've been out there in the cold and wind, with cars belching fumes. All the while they chisel away turning concrete seams into silk amid clouds of dust."

And second, Sanford asked what else is in store besides adding aesthetically pleasing detail. Recent work has included the installation of decorative brickwork for the crosswalk. But repairs to broken sections remain to be done and the sagging crosswalk brickwork makes crossing the bridge a rough drive. Sanford asked: "Do you suppose they're going to spend all this time and money on the roadway and leave what's most annoying?"

We touched base with Thomas Gibson, the city of St. Petersburg's engineering director, who told us the pavers will be leveled after the bridge deck work is completed, which may take a little longer due to the recent rainy weather. Motorists should expect short delays in the work zone as the work is wrapped up.

LOCATION

U.S. 19 interchange in Pinellas Park working

The busy hub where Park Boulevard meets U.S. 19 in Pinellas Park can be a source of stress for even the most confident driver. And while recent changes to the traffic configuration may require time to adjust, Florida Department of Transportation officials say the changes appear to be producing the anticipated improvements. The redesign of the Park Boulevard off-ramp is identical to the westbound Gandy Boulevard off-ramp, by the way, which has been in operation for more than three decades.

We touched base with Kris Carson, spokeswoman for the DOT, and asked her to fill us in on the recent changes for eastbound and northbound traffic, prompted by a letter from reader Marolyn Seanor, who said changes in the arrows is causing confusion.

Carson told us the DOT removed part of the raised island at the eastbound Park Boulevard off-ramp to U.S. 19. This was done in order to add a bit more capacity for the heavy eastbound traffic on Park looking to turn north on U.S. 19. So drivers who know about this additional lane can use both of the approach lanes on the ramp (instead of only the left lane) to head north.

Motorists who want to head south by making a right turn always had to use the right lane, and the recent reconstruction still requires right-turning vehicles to use the right lane to head south.

Barricade watch

Keep an eye out for the following ongoing roadwork and sidewalk construction that may involve lane closures and traffic delays:

• 66th Street N from Tyrone Boulevard to Park Boulevard. Look for lane closures from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday until July. The project involves pavement restoration and the installation of countdown pedestrian signals at 26th, 30th, 38th, 54th and 70th avenues N.

•Park Boulevard from 83rd Street N to 79th Street N. Watch for workers in the median and expect intermittent lane closures and delays during work on modifying the median from now until approximately March 10.

• The eastbound right lane of Ulmerton Road will be closed 2,500 feet east of 125th Street N for installation of a sanitary sewer line for the St. Petersburg College Veterinary Center until approximately Feb. 4.

Until next week, happy and safe motoring!

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at docdelay@yahoo.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions.

Ask Dr. Delay: What's up with construction at Snell Isle Bridge? 01/29/11 [Last modified: Saturday, January 29, 2011 3:30am]
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