Thanks for the recent update on the temporary lane closures on the Sunshine Skyway bridge. But barrels have been up on the northbound span since at least last August (I drive it daily). What is the deal?
The state Department of Transportation has been performing maintenance work on the high columns of the 26-year-old cable-stayed Sunshine Skyway. The work and corresponding lane shifts should be wrapped up very soon. But there's more to come: the DOT has an Intelligent Transportation System device improvement project in the works, which means nightly lane closures from 8:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. during installation of dynamic message boards that we've become accustomed to on Interstate 275. Other improvements include the installation of cameras, vehicle detectors, weather information systems and fiber optic cable along I-275 from the Manatee toll plaza to 54th Avenue S in St. Petersburg.
Work on this $6 million, 12-mile project, which began last June, is scheduled to be completed sometime this summer.
I live in Five Towns, so I'm well familiar with both the old and new configurations of the crosswalks at 54th Avenue N at 80th Street and am very glad the change is being made. A dozen yards north was a footbridge connecting Five Towns and Bank of America. It was in need of repairs in early 2012. I asked employees of both the bank and Five Towns which of them installed the footbridge. Both told me the county, perhaps a different department than had the money to change the crossing. Anyway, in late 2012 the county decided not to repair the footbridge and removed it. Habits die hard. Since then as the weather and the drainage ditch have been dry many people walk over the tree roots and curbs where the footbridge used to be.
John C Green Jr.
The pedestrian footbridge was no doubt built by someone who wanted to aid residents in accessing the bank and the businesses to the west without having to go out into the street. We checked in with representatives of Pinellas County's public works department and learned that the footbridge was built on private property; the county does not have a record of having built the structure or taking it down, and does not know for certain who did.
Work on the ongoing U.S. 19 interchanges improvement project entered a new phase last week just north of U.S. 19 and East Bay Drive in Largo that means motorists should be prepared for fewer traffic lanes and likely slowdowns. Here's the latest: northbound U.S. 19 was reduced from three traffic lanes to two a little bit north of the U.S. 19/East Bay Drive overpass, ending on the north side of 19 at the Whitney Road overpass.
In addition, the on-ramp from the northbound frontage road to northbound U.S. 19 between East Bay Drive and Whitney Road will be closed for several months while workers rebuild the middle section of the U.S. 19/Whitney Road overpass. This closure redirects northbound frontage road traffic through the intersection of the northbound frontage road with Whitney Road to merge into northbound traffic on U.S. 19 at a point just north of Whitney Road.
CSX work continues
Repairs to the CSX railroad crossings at 46th Avenue N and 52nd Avenue N in Lealman will close the roadway this week beginning Monday morning through Friday. Detour signs are in place to direct local traffic, which will be rerouted while replacement of the rubber railroad ties takes place.
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