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One of two Lealman road projects could be cut

LEALMAN — County officials have some good news and some bad news for folks who live in this unincorporated area.

The best news is destined for those who live along 46th Avenue N between 80th and 62nd streets. Improvements to that portion of 46th could begin late this year.

Those who live along 46th on the eastern side of Kenneth City between 55th and 37th streets won't be so lucky.

The county plans to deep-six plans for similar improvements to that section of 46th.

Both sections of the road are in the unincorporated Lealman area, which runs roughly from 38th Avenue N to 62nd Avenue N on both sides of Kenneth City.

The County Commission is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the staff's recommendation that the eastern renovation be tabled until later.

It is unclear when "later" might be. The 3 p.m. meeting will be held in the commission chambers, 315 Court St., Clearwater.

The meeting is open to the public.

The county simply can't afford to do the work, said Pete Yauch, the county's director of roads and transportation.

But all is not doom and gloom, Yauch said.

That section of 46th will go on the list for sidewalks, drainage at three intersections and resurfacing.

County officials have long expected to improve 46th Avenue, a narrow road that has become increasingly busy as Pinellas has become more crowded.

At first, the county staff thought to widen 46th to three lanes, but those plans fell by the wayside.

In their place came a plan to install better drainage, leave the road as two lanes but improve it and add sidewalks and bike lanes.

Yauch said county officials estimated the cost at $11-million for the portion west of Kenneth City and about $5-million for the portion on the eastern side.

But costs increased and it now appears the western portion will cost about $16-million.

To make matters worse, that's now what the eastern portion is expected to cost.

The bulk of the cost, Yauch said, is the expansive drainage repairs needed along that section of the road.

"We had the money to build one of them," Yauch said. "The other had to be pushed back."

All the money will "get moved into the western one and the eastern one will just go away for a while."

Now, Yauch said, the county has gotten all but two small rights of way.

Those are expected to be resolved this year, allowing Pinellas to go out for bids at the end of this year.

Construction should take about 18 months once it begins, he said.

One of two Lealman road projects could be cut 07/19/08 [Last modified: Saturday, July 19, 2008 4:32am]
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