Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Transportation

Ask Dr. Delay: Why not employ an army of workers to pave roads quickly?

Thankfully, after three long years, the Keystone/Tarpon Road expansion project is finally behind us. But since I work in the Carillon area, I get to trade that three-year mess with the recently started three-year project to "improve" the Roosevelt/Ulmerton Road area. And of course, everyone in North Pinellas gets to deal with the never-ending construction on U.S. 19. Why don't we hire a small army for these projects and conduct the work 24/7? Not only would this ease the pain for everyone involved, but it would put more people to work on the "shovel ready" projects.

Scott Stolz

This is an excellent question, and one that comes into the Doc's mailbox quite often. As long as we have such a high volume of vehicles on the roads in the Tampa Bay area, we will be in a constant state of repair or improvement, so it's helpful to know what goes into it.

Road improvement projects, even those that seem fairly simple, are mind-bogglingly complex. In our particular region, the geography and the dense population combine to make the proposition even more so. And while it would be great to deploy an army of road workers to knock jobs out in quick time, that's not really where the time issue comes into play. It's all the behind the scenes work that goes into these projects that takes time.

The advance work that is required does in a way involve an army before the first barricade goes up. This army consists of engineers and geologists, for example, and the collaboration of multiple agencies across city, county and state agencies working together to make sure power lines get moved when they have to be moved; likewise sewer and potable water lines. Fiber optic lines may have to be moved. Property owners have to be worked with if a road is being widened and private property is involved.

The planning and logistics that go into what may seem like a simple 1 or 2-mile stretch of road improvement include studies to determine environmental impact, drainage, current and future traffic volume, the effect on surrounding roads, neighborhoods and businesses, and once all of that is worked out, the funding has to be in place and contractors who have bid on the projects must be vetted.

Once the work finally begins, it has to go on at times and in such a way that we can continue to use the roads. And there are other factors that can't be planned for such as weather, or digging and finding something unexpected. As to lack of urgency to get the job done, after years of visiting road construction sites, the Doc can attest that no one wants the projects completed more than the workers doing the job — they use the roads, too.

Barricade watch

• In St. Petersburg, watch for work on sidewalk and drainage improvements along Fourth Street N from Fifth Avenue N to Koger Boulevard until October. Work is being done between 5 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday through Friday; motorists should expect delays and daily lane closures.

• Visitors to Fort De Soto Park should be aware of work that began last week along the Pinellas Bayway S from the boat ramp entrance to Bunces Pass Bridge. Bridge repairs will require intermittent lane closures and delays for cars, and the sidewalk and bike lane will also be closed. Work is expected to be completed Oct. 11.

• In Seminole, expect intermittent lane closures and delays on 86th Avenue N from 131st Street N to Ridge Road as sidewalk work continues until Nov. 1.

• If your daily commute takes you northbound on U.S. 19, be prepared for the next round of major road work, which is about to start between Countryside Boulevard in Clearwater and E Live Oak Street in Tarpon Springs.

Email Dr. Delay at [email protected] to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions or follow Dr. Delay on Twitter @AskDrDelay.

Comments
Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Those who use mass transit across the Tampa Bay area can ride for free on Sunday.To celebrate Earth Day, both the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will be offering free rides on Su...
Published: 04/19/18
She calmly landed the Southwest flight and broke barriers as a fighter pilot

She calmly landed the Southwest flight and broke barriers as a fighter pilot

The pilot’s voice was calm yet focused as her plane descended with 149 people on board."Southwest 1380, we’re single engine," Tammie Jo Shults, a former fighter pilot with the U.S. Navy, said. "We have part of the aircraft missing so we’re going to n...
Published: 04/18/18
Carlton: Thanks, Gov. Scott, for the dreaded trip across Interstate 4

Carlton: Thanks, Gov. Scott, for the dreaded trip across Interstate 4

The other day I had to go to Orlando from Tampa on Interstate 4, which has to be one of the most disliked highways in Florida. And I say this as someone who learned to drive on Miami’s I-95.It turned out to be the same root canal of a trip we’ve come...
Published: 04/18/18
NTSB: Blown Southwest jet engine showed ‘metal fatigue’

NTSB: Blown Southwest jet engine showed ‘metal fatigue’

PHILADELPHIA — A preliminary examination of the blown jet engine of the Southwest Airlines plane that set off a terrifying chain of events and left a businesswoman hanging half outside a shattered window showed evidence of "metal fatigue," according ...
Published: 04/18/18
Group promoting road safety out in force on 56th Street Monday

Group promoting road safety out in force on 56th Street Monday

TEMPLE TERRACE — If all goes as planned on Monday (April 23), at least 100 people will line the sides of one of the most dangerous stretches in Hillsborough County — 56th Street between Sligh Avenue and Busch Boulevard — in an effort to get motorists...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Big dig’s big cost: Pasco tunnel idea carries $550 million price tag

Big dig’s big cost: Pasco tunnel idea carries $550 million price tag

NEW PORT RICHEY — Construction costs to tunnel under U.S. 41 in central Pasco could top a half-billion dollars, four times the projected price of building elevated lanes above the highway’s intersection with State Road 54.The cost estimate, said Comm...
Published: 04/17/18
Dr. Delay: How to find out if you qualify for a speed hump; updates on the Pinellas Bayway

Dr. Delay: How to find out if you qualify for a speed hump; updates on the Pinellas Bayway

I live in St. Pete and would like to know how I could go about getting a speed hump installed on my street. Where do I start?Manuel Reyes, St. PetersburgThe place to start would be by contacting the St. Petersburg Neighborhood Transportation Manager,...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
He got fed up with Miami traffic, so now he commutes with dolphins and pelicans

He got fed up with Miami traffic, so now he commutes with dolphins and pelicans

Parker Lake got sick of the rat race. Sick of working in a cubicle. Sick of commuting on Miami’s mean streets. Sick of being overweight from sitting at a desk or in traffic jams.So Lake quit his unfulfilling job, sold his car and moved to a house on ...
Updated one month ago
A sixth person killed by the high-speed Brightline train in Florida

A sixth person killed by the high-speed Brightline train in Florida

The Brightline train fatally struck a man Sunday, bringing the total killed by the train to six people since it began test runs last year.The Delray Beach Police Department announced on Twitter that a pedestrian was hit Sunday by a northbound Brightl...
Updated one month ago
Dr. Delay: Will the lights at 87th Avenue N and Fourth Street cause extra congestion?

Dr. Delay: Will the lights at 87th Avenue N and Fourth Street cause extra congestion?

Massive new street signals were erected at the intersection of 87th Avenue N. and Fourth Street, just four blocks north from the light-controlled intersection at 83rd Avenue N. At the same time a new WaWa store/gas station is being constructed near 8...
Updated one month ago