Closing looms for Tarpon's Howard Park causeway

Fans of Fred Howard Park are preparing for the last beach hurrah as the summer winds down and the date looms for the yearlong closure of the causeway that provides access to the Tarpon Springs beach.

Immediately after the Labor Day weekend, public access will be closed to make way for the replacement of the causeway bridges and work on the road. The work is estimated to last a little more than a year, with reopening slated for the fall of 2009.

Part of the gulffront park will remain open during construction — the 50 acres of mainland with walking paths, kayak and canoe waterway trails, a ball field, playgrounds, and shelters with picnic areas and parking. Reservations for picnic shelters will be honored throughout the construction, county officials say.

Two existing bridges that have exceeded their lifespan will be replaced. The new bridges will feature wider travel lanes with shoulders and sidewalks on both sides.

Pete Yauch, Pinellas County public works director, said the new bridges are expected to last 75 years. For more information on Fred Howard Park, call 943-4081 or view details at www.pinellascounty.org/park/06_howard.htm.

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The recent changes of some of the one-way and two-way traffic flows on St. Petersburg downtown streets have a few folks wondering how some of the decisions were made.

Reader Vicki Wilson asked: "Can you find out why Ninth Avenue N is a two-way street except for one block between Third and Fourth streets N? It is a real pain. And I am very curious."

Mike Frederick, the city's neighborhood transportation manager, told us that the section of Ninth Avenue N in question has been one-way for quite some time, and it was kept that way as a condition of the site plan when the CVS drugstore was going in a few years ago.

"The reason behind the one-way was to redirect arterial traffic destined to facilities along the bay to other arterial routes like Fifth Avenue or 22nd Avenue N, thereby reducing the impact to the local street network," Frederick said.

Shuttle to Rays games

A reminder to Rays fans that a free shuttle will be provided to Tropicana Field for home games against the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Other dates may be added as the season winds down. Shuttle dates and times and a printable route map are available at www.LooperTrolley.com.

Please e-mail Dr. Delay at docdelay@yahoo.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Check out Dr. Delay's Bay News 9 blog at www.baynews9.com/DrDelay.html to read more about commuting issues.

>>fast facts

Barricade watch

Road work scheduled around the county this week:

Clearwater: McMullen-Booth Road from Drew Street to Ruth Eckerd Hall Drive: road paving and milling project; Stevenson Creek at Stevenson Drive: bridge abutment repair. Also, that section of the Pinellas Trail will be closed.

Gulfport: The Bear Creek Bridge at Mango Avenue S and Bamboo Drive S will be closed for replacement.

Largo: County Road 296-Bryan Dairy Road at Bypass Canal west of 92nd Street N: bridge maintenance; Center Avenue at Ulmerton Road and Randolph Street: drainage improvements.

Lealman: 55th Street N between 46th Avenue N and 54th Avenue N: drainage improvements.

Pinellas Park: End of 78th Street N south of Park Boulevard: Joe's Creek dredging.

Seminole: 114th Avenue N at 131st Street N: drainage improvements; Park Boulevard at Cross Bayou Canal east of 83rd Street N: bridge maintenance; Ridge Road from 84th Avenue N to 86th Avenue N: drainage work and sidewalk repairs; Sunset Drive between Dorothy Lane and Hamlin Drive: drainage improvements.

Closing looms for Tarpon's Howard Park causeway 08/09/08 [Last modified: Saturday, August 9, 2008 9:31pm]

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