What's the status on the John's Pass bridge replacement project? Readers have been asking, so here's the latest: The current construction schedule shows completion is slated for early 2011, but according to the state Department of Transportation, the contractor is making great progress and hopes to finish early. But just to be on the safe side and prevent disappointment — and hurricane season is a factor here, too — it's too soon to say at this point, so we're still looking at early 2011.
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Here's another construction update requested by readers regarding the 46th Avenue N project. Reader Dan Fazzini wrote:
"Whatever happened to the sidewalk project on 46th Avenue N between 52nd and 58th streets? The land was surveyed and budgeted for, but the project never got off the ground. Instead, there was a widening of the lanes and new sidewalks on 46th Avenue around 60th Street. Any plans to take care of the sidewalks and widening of 46th Avenue west of 49th street? P.S.: That road could use streetlights too."
We passed the question along to the folks at Pinellas County traffic engineering and Debra Jaramillo told us some of the original plans for the project were canceled due to budget cuts, and a 46th Avenue N sidewalk project is not in the proposed budget.
As for additional street lighting, Jaramillo says residents may request a street light for their property by calling Progress Energy toll-free at 1-800-700-8744. They are usually able to install a single light in a couple of months and property owners are responsible for the cost.
To initiate a street lighting district in the neighborhood, residents would have to work together to determine the area to be lighted and the types of lights desired. Here's how it works: Property owners would have to gather signatures from 75 percent of the area's property owners in order to request initiation of the process and submit the request and signatures to Pinellas County. Once the signatures are verified, Progress Energy designs a plan and communicates the cost estimate to the county. The county then creates a petition for the neighborhood, and once 60 percent of the property owners sign off on it, the County Commission approves or denies the request. The process takes about a year.
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A few readers have contacted the Doc regarding the pedestrian crosswalks on Madeira Beach being poorly lit and faded and not easy to see from a motorist's perspective. One reader wrote: "There should be a focused, high intensity light and fresh paint with glass beads to brighten these crosswalks."
We passed these comments along to the DOT and heard back from spokesperson Kris Carson who pointed out that Gulf Boulevard and the Tom Stuart Causeway are the only two state roads in Madeira Beach and the two locations with crosswalks on the Tom Stuart Causeway are at signalized intersections. The DOT will likely take care of the crosswalks on Gulf Boulevard by the end of this year.
"We are also planning on putting a work order out to do the unsignalized crosswalks on Gulf Boulevard. All of the funds for this year are committed to other projects so this task order will have to be issued for next year," Carson said.
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Commuters who head from South Pinellas to the north end of the county have complained to the Doc about the deteriorating condition of the roadbed on the northbound U.S. 19 off-ramp that accesses Countryside Boulevard and Countryside mall in Clearwater. The right turn lane near the bottom of that ramp is in rough condition, with a series of deep dips.
The DOT's Carson said maintenance workers will patch and smooth this area soon. She said the area is slated for eventual reconstruction when the Enterprise Road interchange project gets included in the five-year work program.
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