VALRICO — Hillsborough County has approved funding for three traffic signals in the Valrico area and will begin construction on one within the month and the other two at the end of this summer.
The signals are part of a Bloomingdale area transportation improvement plan that includes revamping main intersections and expanding congested roads.
Two of the new signals are near Burns and Mulrennan middle schools, and the third is at Durant and S Valrico roads, where eastbound traffic often backs up at the four-way stop in the afternoons.
All three projects will include sidewalk upgrades and pedestrian crossings.
The work was going to cost an estimated $2.5 million, but the county decided to scrap improvement plans and focus on installing the signals. The three signals will cost a total of about $1.5 million.
"We do our best to spend money wisely," project manager Jo Ann Herron said. "We're taxpayers, too. A lot of people forget that. We drive those roads. We're as unhappy a lot of times as the next guy."
Herron is developing the bid documents for the signals at Durant and S Valrico roads and at Brooker and Bryant roads. If the same contractor takes on both projects, that could expedite the projects, Herron said.
Construction is expected to begin in the summer and finish by next spring.
The third signal will be installed where Mulrennan and Pearson roads intersect with Durant Road. Construction is expected to start within the next few weeks on that intersection, next to Mulrennan Middle School.
The current four-way stop has grown problematic. As parents drop off students in the morning and afternoon at Mulrennan Middle, northbound traffic backs up on Pearson Road and southbound traffic backs up on Mulrennan, prompting the school to use a Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy to direct traffic.
Project manager C.T. Chen said the middle school and the safety of the kids are likely part of the reason for the new light, in addition to general safety concerns.
Construction is projected to finish by the end of the summer.
Caitlin Johnston can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2443.