Reader D. Limtiaco commutes to Tampa each workday and contacted the Doc recently about witnessing incidents of road rage that seem to happen daily in the left merge lane of southbound Interstate 275 near the Howard/Armenia exit.
"I drive this way from work every day and see countless drivers abuse this lane by crossing over the solid white line to bypass traffic in the left lane, then cutting back over, forcing their way into traffic, which creates slowdowns or standstill traffic. I have seen frustrated drivers try to block these last-second traffic opportunists in this merge lane which has resulted in some road rage incidents. I really believe the placement of this merge lane on the left was poorly planned and awkward for motorists. Have you received any reports or heard of any plans to close this merge lane and build it on the right side where it belongs?"
We turned to Marian Scorza, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Transportation. The good news is that this situation is not permanent; however, the fix is a bit far off into the future.
"This on-ramp from the left onto I-275 southbound at the Howard Avenue/Armenia Avenue interchange is a temporary design that will be converted to a typical on-ramp from the right when this section of I-275 is reconstructed in 2013. Unfortunately, there is no remedial solution to the actions of these aggressive motorists using this ramp as a passing lane then merging back into traffic," Scorza said.
A ban on texting while driving possible in 2011?
Will 2011 be the year that Florida passes legislation banning texting while driving? Time will tell, but there will be national legislation passed that addresses cell phone use by motorists if former state Sen. Frederica Wilson, who was elected to Congress in November, has her way. Wilson, who will represent Floridians in parts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, was behind unsuccessful pushes in 2009 and again in 2010 that proposed a statewide ban on cell phone use while driving in Florida. The bills never made it past committee, but Wilson says she is not giving up the fight and that as soon as the new Congress convenes, she intends to get rolling on national legislation to prohibit cell phone use by drivers who have minors in the vehicle with them. Stay tuned.
Broken water main
Belcher open between East Bay, Ulmerton
Good news for folks who have been avoiding Belcher Road during repair work on the broken water main: The road has been reopened for two-way traffic in both directions on Belcher between East Bay Drive and Ulmerton Road. A spokesman for Pinellas County Public Works said the road should remain passable for through traffic for the duration of repair work.
Salvador Dalí Museum Looper stop closed
Effective Monday, the Downtown Looper route Stop No. 10 (the Salvador Dalí Museum stop) will be closed. Vehicles will be rerouted along Second Street to the new Dalí museum location set to open Tuesday. For more information about the Downtown Looper, visit stpetetrolley.com.
Be on the lookout for road work
Here are a couple of road work projects to be aware of this week:
• Motorists should be alert to sewer work on eastbound Ulmerton Road at 125th Street that requires the closure of the right curb lane through approximately Friday.
• Work on Walsingham Road at Seminole Boulevard on Monday will require lane closure and delays as workers make adjustments to the lane separator and driveway aprons. Best bet: Use an alternate route.
Until next week, happy and safe motoring!
E-mail Dr. Delay at email@example.com to share traffic concerns, comments and questions. Questions may be edited for space and clarity.