CLEARWATER —Beginning today, businesses west of U.S. 19 between Countryside Boulevard and Sunset Point Road can be accessed only by the newly constructed southbound frontage road, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.
As part of the improvements to the two-mile stretch of the U.S. 19 corridor, drivers traveling south will not be able to turn right from U.S. 19 directly into driveways or onto Enterprise Road from U.S. 19. Access to the southbound frontage road will be at the Evans Road and Main Street/State Road 580 exits.
Local traffic is expected to use the frontage roads to access businesses while through traffic will remain on U.S. 19. The traffic pattern change is similar to other road improvement projects along the corridor.
"I can speak for us and other businesses in being excited for regular traffic moving forward," said Bobby Labbe, general manager at the Sea Dog Brewing Co., 26000 U.S. 19.
Construction has been active since the restaurant opened in January 2013. Employees have had to wipe the patio down daily from dust and customers have complained that it's difficult to enter the property.
"A lot of times if they miss the entrance they'll move on to the next restaurant," he said.
A few blocks south at Heat Yoga & Fitness, 25022 U.S. Highway 19, owner Stephanie Krasowski said she is excited for the finished frontage road.
"It's definitely going to be easier to make that right hand turn instead of turning right off U.S. 19," she said. "It'll be safer."
Her customers have complained that the road was uneven, too narrow and too dirty from construction.
"Everyone jokes about getting their cars cleaned a lot," Krasowski said.