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Traffic, water may soon flow on Fourth Street

Trust me, it only seems like forever.

Fourth Street between 54th Avenue S and Hillside Drive has been torn up for months while the city installs a box culvert as part of a drainage improvement project.

As the Doc mentioned a number of columns back, that means a lot of dust, aggravation and noise for the folks in the Edgewood neighborhood, and a detour off Fourth, around Hillside, up (and back) Seventh Street to 54th and back to Fourth. All out of the norm.

I know, it seems longer, but time is like that. It reminds Dr. Delay of the old family saw about how time flies: Twenty-four years? It only seems like 24 days _ hanging by your thumbs.

Must be trying.

A couple of readers called last week, asking "How long is that going to take?"

Robert Piper wondered, "What's going on at 54th Avenue S and Fourth Street? It's been blocked up for many months now. Find out what you can, please."

"Best information is it's slated for the latter part, the end of August," says Al Dreier of the city traffic engineering department. "And they're pretty close to being on the target date."

"Good," says Piper. "That thing's been such a bottleneck, a real inconvenience."

Hey, when it's done, both water and traffic will flow better.

A while back, Dr. Delay made note of the St. Petersburg Police Department's portable speed limit sign/radar detector unit. You know, the thing that they trailer around like a picnic smoker, set up alongside a street some drivers mistake for Leadfoot Lane and flash back how fast you're traveling.

Since then, we've seen Treasure Island's version parked just as you sail through the Causeway toll booth. Effective there, we heard.

Last week, St. Petersburg's mobile speed marquee has been perched on Gibson the Dog's occasional evening walk route, on 12th Street between 14th and 15th avenues N. Word's out this street's been the scene of a drag race or two through the St. Paul's/Euclid neighborhoods.

It also just finished a stint around Crescent Lake.

Gibson bears his fangs at even the hint of racing cars.

Now, off to the other end of the county.

Gary Kilroy noticed something you've probably experienced if you drive regularly on Roosevelt Boulevard. And especially if you aren't a regular.

Let's say you're heading east, or toward St. Petersburg, from Ulmerton Road. "Everything is well as you move off of Ulmerton and heading to pick up Interstate 275," he says. "But then there's this one small sign to the right that is somewhat faded (Kilroy later described it "as about the size of a lampshade in the living room") that says I-275 next right.

"What happens is that tourists pick up on that at the last minute and they veer across two or three lanes to get to the turnoff. We need signs on both sides to give sufficient warning."

Dr. Delay notes it isn't just tourists who make the quick right jog to hit the interstate.

About that sign.

"I'll have traffic operations take a look at it," says the state Department of Transportation's Leo Folsom.

As we approach the midpoint of the summer vacation season, the Doc feels it's only fair to warn you that getting out of Florida still is difficult.

Take Interstate 75, for example. Or, better yet, avoid it.

All this week, expect lane closings between 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. on the 16 miles from State Road 326 (Exit 71) to the Marion-Alachua county line as DOT mills and resurfaces the road.

A bit farther north, at the U.S. 41/441 overpass in Columbia County, DOT's still driving bridge piles and you're still driving slowly.

And who could forget the ever-popular Interstate 4 construction just west of Tampa, around MacIntosh Road? That work just goes on and on.

If you make it to Atlanta without a delay, you deserve a gold medal.

Let's see, cleaning up the odds and ends:

pond cleaning around Wayne Street at 62nd Avenue N;

and median mowing at all compass points, what with this being prime growing season.

Have a question for the Doc? Write me at Ask Dr. Delay, Neighborhood Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731-1121. Or call. Using a Touch-Tone phone, phone TimesLine at 898-0019; punch in category code 8900. Or e-mail me at docdelaysptimes.com

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