BRANDON — The intersection of Lithia-Pinecrest and Lumsden roads has plagued nearby residents and county planners for years.
Commuters say they're fed up with its traffic backups, and the county gave Lithia-Pinecrest an "F" rating in 2007. The intersection, into which Durant and Bell Shoals roads feed, gets much more traffic than designers created it to handle.
To deal with these transportation woes, public works officials devised several changes to help traffic flow better. The county allocated about $5.5 million to construction on this intersection, which officials expect to start mid-2011.
At a public meeting Tuesday, planners will outline the proposed changes. Although they don't expect to make final decisions then, county staff will answer questions. The public's suggestions will weigh into their final decision, planners said.
Public works officials propose adding turn lanes and through lanes on Lithia-Pinecrest and Lumsden. They also suggest making the intersection of Durant and Lumsden roads accessible only by right turns, similar to the current design of the intersection of Bell Shoals and Lithia-Pinecrest.
Seffner resident David Watts, who recently got a $151 traffic citation for turning left from Bell Shoals onto Lithia-Pinecrest, said that would be terrible.
"It sounds that it would only make the situation worse," he said.
The suggestions differ mainly in the way planners propose to fix eastbound Lumsden as it approaches Lithia-Pincecrest. These are the three proposed fixes:
• Create one unsignaled right turn lane onto Lithia-Pinecrest. Access south onto Bell Shoals would be cut off, but drivers could still turn right onto Lithia-Pinecrest from Bell Shoals.
• Create one signal-controlled right turn lane onto Lithia-Pinecrest. Keep the Bell Shoals and Lithia-Pinecrest intersection the same.
• Create two right-hand, signal-controlled lanes onto Lithia-Pinecrest. Keep the Bell Shoals and Lithia-Pinecrest intersection the same.
County planners expect the first option to meet traffic needs through 2022, the second option through 2015 and the third through 2026.
The controversial possibility of building two new roads, one from Lithia-Pinecrest east to Durant Road and another west to Bell Shoals Road, is no longer a consideration.
Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 661-2443.