Storm pipe crews get set to tackle Belcher

What's the holdup on finishing Belcher Road on the south end where it connects to the widening of Bryan Dairy Road? The Bryan Dairy project seems to be moving along at a good clip but the connection with Belcher Road has come to a complete standstill for the last several weeks. Sure would be nice to have at least one road complete in this area.

Mike Shirmer

The Doc asked the folks at Pinellas County Public Works for an update on the Bryan Dairy Road project, which includes improvements both north and south on Belcher Road.

Engineering supervisor Joseph DeMoss says the project is split into multiple phases because of many challenges that include keeping the road open to traffic during the work; the multiple utility stakeholders involved such as gas, water and power; and concerns about access to private property along the corridor.

DeMoss says that the latest phase of the work involves installing underground utility infrastructure (water). Because safety of the water supply is critical, this work must be done in compliance with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which requires specialized testing and clearances from the state.

The contractor has been waiting for these clearances while working on other project areas. That approval came in late last week, allowing for the final utility connections to be made immediately. The storm pipe crews can now complete the underground infrastructure in the Belcher area.

DeMoss says that although the project is scheduled to be completed in November, he expects the contractor to complete the Bryan Dairy Road project ahead of schedule (late summer or early fall), weather conditions permitting.

It recently seemed like a surveyors' convention on Gandy Boulevard between I-275 and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N in the stretch where they had already completed highway widening and repairs. What's going on next?

Geoff Barker

The surveying you saw was conducted in advance of a proposed project to improve Gandy Boulevard from west of King Street N to east of Fourth Street N. The idea is to expand Gandy from its existing four-lane rural artery with grassy median to a reconstructed six-lane roadway from west of King Street N (just east of I-275) up to what's commonly referred to as the Ninth Street bridge and four lanes from the bridge to east of Fourth Street N.

According to Kris Carson of the Florida Department of Transportation, overpasses will be constructed along the mainline of Gandy Boulevard at 16th Street, the frontage road connector, King Street, and Roosevelt Boulevard/Fourth Street N. Frontage roads will run parallel to the roadway and new pedestrian and bicycle accommodations will be included along the stretch. The project is currently estimated to cost about $130 million.

Carson said the improvements can be accommodated within existing highway right-of-way, which may make this an easier road construction experience compared to other local road improvement projects. Plus, utility issues, such as water retention, have already been addressed and there will be no need to relocate any businesses or residents during construction. Project design of is still in progress and no construction start date has been set, although it will likely be sometime in 2013.

Email 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.

Storm pipe crews get set to tackle Belcher 07/14/12 [Last modified: Saturday, July 14, 2012 5:30am]

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