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118th Avenue project will take time

The 118th Avenue project is humming along, but readers have sent us questions and requests for updates. Dick Averitt asked us to check the status of work on the Roosevelt Boulevard exit from Interstate 275 in particular. He wrote:

"Dear Doc, please tell me that the DOT has a plan to complete the work on the Roosevelt overpass exit from I-275 before the rest of the 118th interface is completed. It is dispiriting to wade through the delay to get to the construction area, only to see no work completed. … Surely they didn't start on the most disruptive part of the project first."

The segment Averitt refers to includes building a new ramp for traffic from northbound I-275 that will loop back to the west over Roosevelt Boulevard and connect to westbound 118th Avenue. When completed, the new ramp will eliminate the need for motorists to exit onto Roosevelt and go to the signal at 28th Street to get to 118th Avenue.

John McShaffrey of the DOT says construction of the ramp includes building two new bridges and widening existing structures. The work going on now is to remove the old barrier wall on the left side of the bridges over I-275 and Roosevelt which will be replaced. This project requires a lot of night work. That's why it might appear that little is happening.

Traffic will be shifted once new barrier walls are complete to allow for bridge widening and new foundations, columns and large concrete panel walls. Work has started on the first new bridge that will carry the ramp over Roosevelt.

Another area project will move an underground wall in the median of 118th to make way for a second bridge. This is a Pinellas County Solid Waste facility project. The wall is being moved farther south. The large crane sitting on the barge that many readers have asked about is part of this county project.

The 118th Avenue project will not be completed for some time.

"Unfortunately, the Roosevelt ramp must remain a single-lane ramp throughout all this work. Our best projection is that the ramp will remain closed for about a year. We're looking for ways to expedite our project and reopen to two lanes at the earliest opportunity. The good news is that the road contractor is moving swiftly and making very good progress," McShaffrey said.

I-175 and Fourth Street S

Exit's far-right lane promotes confusion

Reader Kim McMullin wrote to us about the I-175 exit at Fourth Street S. She travels the route daily and is under the impression that the far-right lane for eastbound traffic is designated for right turns only. Some motorists seem confused as to whether this lane is for through traffic or a right turn only. McMullin is wondering whether the green and white arrow placards strung overhead across the intersection are part of the problem.

"The green signs are not directly overhead above the traffic signal, so people either choose to ignore them or don't see them," McMullin said. "Every day I come off the exit and head toward Third Street S to take a right. Every day last week someone went straight in the right-turn-only lane and almost hit me or someone else. … Can someone please put a sign next to the traffic light that says right lane must turn right, as well as paint it on the street?"

Kevin Dunn of the DOT said confusion is understandable because there are no regulatory signs in place, such as a "Right Lane Must Turn Right" sign. Dunn says it is legal to proceed through the intersection in this lane.

"We will have the operation of this right lane clarified by modifying the right directional pavement arrow to a through/right pavement arrow as found in this lane further downstream approaching Third Street St. S. We will also have the arrow on the overhead sign converted to just a simple 90-degree horizontal right arrow, rather than an arrow style that is typically found on a Right Turn Only sign," Dunn said.

Until next week, happy and safe motoring!

Doc Delay is on twitter! Get news from the road at www.twitter.com/DocDelay. Please e-mail Dr. Delay at [email protected] to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions.

118th Avenue project will take time 10/03/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 3, 2009 4:30am]
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