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Follow the signs, not old stripes, on Pinellas Bayway

Old stripes on a Pinellas Bayway turn tricks drivers into thinking the left lane ends, not the right.

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Old stripes on a Pinellas Bayway turn tricks drivers into thinking the left lane ends, not the right.

Westbound Pinellas Bayway traffic has always had to merge left after the Isla del Sol Yacht and Country Club entrance, as the right lane became a right turn-only lane before the bridge leading to St. Pete Beach. With the construction and restriping, it's now the left lane that ends, and it does so immediately after the traffic light. Rather than change the sign, the state DOT added another (now incorrect) sign; I've been run off the road there twice by apparently ignorant and/or arrogant drivers who don't realize their lane is the one that ends. The right lane is now the through-lane and the left lane needs to merge right; the DOT should correct the signs (or fix their screwup on the lane striping) before this inconsistency causes an accident.

Jim Finch, Tierra Verde

A: According to Kris Carson of the state Department of Transportation, while it may appear that the left lane is now the lane that ends, this is not the case. The issue, she says, is perception.

"We have advanced warning signs and striping that shows the right lane ending and instructs motorists to merge left. The problem is a visual/perception issue. When the lanes were shifted, motorists can still see the location of the previous stripe, so it looks like the left lane merges into the right lane. Since the right lane is the lane that always ended, the plans were designed in such a way to make sure the right lane remained the lane that ended and required a merge. As always, we encourage the motorists to follow the signs and pavement markings to navigate the work zone.''

I would like to know why it is taking so long to complete the work on the new lanes for Bryan Dairy Road. I travel this corridor five days a week and do not see any progress.

Bob Kuslansky

A: Hang in there, Bryan Dairy commuters; there are just six months to go. We hope. Joseph DeMoss, an engineering supervisor with Pinellas County's construction management department, told us the project is set to be complete by the end of November. So what's been taking so long? Like most projects, this involved a lot more than simply widening and resurfacing the road. Many other factors and logistics have been involved such as dealing with all the elements that exist below the surface, including stormwater pipes and waterlines, not to mention telephone, cable and gas lines, all of which required relocation and/or installation to facilitate the work we see on the surface.

"While it would be much easier and faster to close the road to the public to accomplish this task, phasing these features with multiple utility owners while safely maintaining stormwater drainage, utilities, and the traffic volumes for a major arterial is not an easy task for the contractor. This is the No. 1 reason roadway projects have extended schedules," DeMoss said.

Other obvious factors that influence projects include weather conditions, pre-existing structures or obstacles such as walls and bridges, and environmental concerns.

"The contractor on this project is diligently working toward completion, and we are confident the project will finish on or before schedule, pending continued favorable weather conditions. With the recent traffic switch you have experienced, you will begin to notice more ground-level transformations throughout the corridor," DeMoss said. The new and improved Bryan Dairy Road will be a six-lane divided highway that features designated bike lanes.

Email Ask Dr. Delay at DocDelay@gmail.com to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions or follow Dr. Delay on Twitter @AskDrDelay. Questions selected for publication may be edited.

Follow the signs, not old stripes, on Pinellas Bayway 05/26/12 [Last modified: Saturday, May 26, 2012 2:44pm]
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