Commuters who regularly traverse the Howard Frankland Bridge are finding themselves distracted by a rock-piling project, which began last month, on the Tampa side of the bridge just off the northbound side of Interstate 275.
Reader Russell Skillman, wrote: "I give up. Just what is going on at the Tampa end of the bridge? Obviously they are doing something with all those rocks. Public fishing jetty? Foundation for runway lights for the airport? A yacht marina? Different exit for Kennedy Boulevard?"
Several other readers have contacted the Doc with the same question, so in order to lessen head-scratching and distracted motoring, we asked the Florida Department of Transportation to fill us in.
Agency spokesman John McShaffrey told us that the rocks will function as barriers to protect the shoreline because current erosion could eventually affect the road.
"Over the years, wave action has eroded the sand in this area, taking the sea grass and mangroves with it. The purpose of this project is to promote sand buildup behind the barriers and the return of desired vegetation. Once the barriers are in place, a large number of plants will be placed along the existing shoreline — including red mangrove, smooth cordgrass, and salt meadow cord grass," McShaffrey wrote in an e-mail last week.
The barriers are being constructed using rocks ranging from 8 inches to 3 feet in diameter, and the piles will be about 5 feet tall, 23 feet across the bottom. There will be two barriers perpendicular to I-275 at the west end of the project area and a series of a dozen more that get closer to the shore as you head east. McShaffrey said the $1.1 million project is slated for completion in the spring.
46th Avenue N/66th Street
Odd signal sequencing due to construction
Reader Jim Heady alerted us to an odd cycling pattern with the new traffic signals installed at 46th Avenue N and 66th Street. The light goes through an interminable cycle of protected turn signals in spite of the absence of traffic along 46th Avenue or in either turn lane on 66th Street.
"As one drives south on 66th you can easily see lights from 54th Avenue N all the way to 38th Avenue N, and they will all be green. Then 46th Avenue's signal turns red while the ones at 38th and 54th avenues are still green. What's up with that?" Heady asked.
County signal operations supervisor Glenn Weaver said the problem is a result of construction work at the intersection.
"The sensors … in the roadway … are no longer operational so the signal sequence has been modified to reflect this condition. The contractor fully understands the inconvenience caused by the loss of detection and will make the necessary repairs as soon as possible," Weaver said.
Nightly lane closures at Starkey, Bryan Dairy
• Look for nightly lane closures at the intersection of Starkey Road and Bryan Dairy Road due to work on stormwater retention ponds. The nightly closures will continue until mid February, with traffic being shifted to one lane.
• Night work on 54th Avenue N at 28th Street has stopped for now, which means that both eastbound lanes of 54th Avenue N have been reopened to traffic. The need for nighttime closures is ongoing as the project progresses, so temporary lane closures will continue throughout the duration of the project, which began in March and is set to be finished sometime in November.
• Good news for folks who miss a smooth drive along 46th Avenue N due to the ongoing road construction project: Two-way traffic has resumed on 46th Avenue N between 71st and 80th streets. The project began in July 2009 and is set for completion in December.
Until next week, happy and safe motoring!
Please e-mail Dr. Delay at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Questions selected for publication may be edited for space and clarity.