Monday, December 18, 2017
Transportation

Rougher road is designed for safety

I regularly travel U.S. 19 from Clearwater to the Pasco County line. In recent months, most of the roadway has been resurfaced with nice new smooth asphalt. However, I've noticed that the new smooth surface is now being repaved again, but this time with a very coarse surface. What is going on?

Joe Wink

The smooth asphalt you refer to is what's known as the structural asphalt layer. It has been covered with a final layer, called a friction course. According to the state Department of Transportation, some areas of the U.S. 19 project require a friction course, which will be applied before the project is completed.

The function of the friction course layer, which is porous, is to enhance safety by allowing water to drain through the material and away from the road. This helps improve drainage and reduces hydroplaning in wet conditions.

Hi, Doc. It has become very noticeable with the heavy rains in this area that Belcher Road floods from one side to the other because of the storm drains being blocked by round black dams that have been in place for several months since the road was repaved. Mainly, the drains just to the north of 118th Avenue on the west side by the vacant land have caused "Lake Belcher" to form on many days. Can you help or should I buy a rowboat?

Mike Shirmer

No need for a seafaring vessel. The storm drain barriers were installed during construction to keep debris, sediment, and other materials out of the drainage system. Now that the work is complete, the contractor has been asked to remove the devices, according to a spokeswoman for Pinellas County.

Barricade watch

• Construction on the concrete bridge at the intersection of U.S. 19 and Belleair Road will affect traffic from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly. The installation of beams requires detours during these hours, as well as moving traffic from two lanes to one during this phase, which is scheduled to last until Aug. 15.

• Sidewalk upgrade work along 62nd Avenue N from 71st Street to 49th Street should be completed next week; in the meantime, use caution and be prepared for delays and lane closures.

Email Dr. Delay at [email protected] to share your traffic concerns or follow @AskDrDelay.mot

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