Bottleneck on southbound U.S. 19 is only temporary

If you're a regular northbound commuter who has been watching the progress of improvements to U.S. 19, and who has begun to worry about how may lanes we will wind up with, don't fret.

The road will be plenty wide eventually.

A daily U.S. 19 commuter wrote us recently to inquire about the current state of the road:

"Dear Dr. Delay, how can southbound U.S. 19 be only two lanes wide as it goes over Gulf-to-Bay? It's a terrible bottleneck there especially in the mornings. North of Gulf-to-Bay, U.S. 19 is four lanes in each direction; the overpasses at Drew Street, Coachman Road and Sunset Point are great. Tell me this is going to be corrected.''

We checked in with Kris Carson of the DOT who assured us that what motorists are seeing right now is just a part of the construction.

It's not all happening at once in order to keep the road open to traffic during construction.

Carson said that while U.S. 19 is currently down to two lanes in the southbound direction, planned improvements include widening it to three lanes.

The DOT will solicit proposals from contractors for the next phase in July 2010 with construction beginning in the fall.

• • •

Meeting reminder: A public hearing to discuss proposed improvements to Bryan Dairy Road between Starkey Road and 72nd Street N will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday in the cafeteria of Osceola High School, 9751 98th St. N.

The findings of a project development and environmental impact study will be reviewed and recommendations for improvements will be discussed, including widening the road from four lanes to six and the addition of bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides.

The public will be able to make comments for the first hour, and a stenographer will be on hand to record remarks and questions.

The second hour will be a formal presentation by representatives of Pinellas County Public Works.

The public may also pick up comment cards which they can complete and mail later.

• • •

Feed the meters: Beginning this month, new parking meters will be installed along parts of the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront including Beach and Bayshore drives from Central Avenue to Fifth Avenue NE and the approach to the Pier.

Time limits on the meters will range from 90 minutes to two hours and will be in effect from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. every day, including Saturday and Sunday.

City officials hope the move will prompt downtown workers to use parking lots and garages and thus open up street parking spaces for shoppers and restaurant patrons.

Barricade watch

Here is a rundown of a few road work projects scheduled around the county this week:

CLEARWATER: Bayside Bridge roadway sweeping and debris removal Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

Watch for closure of southbound on-ramp and temporary delays due to bridge maintenance.

On McMullen-Booth Road between Drew Street and Ruth Eckerd Hall Road, slow down for construction workers installing ramps and a new sidewalk.

LARGO: On 113th Street N from Park Boulevard to State Road 688-Ulmerton Road, expect slowdowns due to shoulder repairs.

LEALMAN: On 55th St N (46th Avenue N to 54 Avenue N), be prepared for detours due to drainage improvements.

ST. PETERSBURG: On 49th Street N (Fifth Avenue N to 54th Avenue N), slow down for workers replacing the sidewalk.

SEMINOLE: On the Lake Seminole Bridge (98th Street N east of Seminole Boulevard), expect east- and westbound lane closures and temporary delays due to bridge maintenance.

Until next week, happy and safe motoring!

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

Bottleneck on southbound U.S. 19 is only temporary 06/07/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 10:41am]

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