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Nebraska Avenue set to get new lanes, light

The road work is set to start this summer. A decorative roundabout is also planned for Nebraska and County Road 1 as part of a beautification plan.

A half-mile stretch of Nebraska Avenue will get a few new lanes and some intersection improvements in late summer, county road officials say.

The $1.2-million project will start around August or September, the same time contractors are expected to begin working on the Belcher Road extension between Tampa and Alderman roads.

Nebraska Avenue between the Belcher extension and U.S. 19 carries up to 15,000 cars a day, according to county statistics. That two-lane segment will become a four-lane road with a center turn lane, said county engineer Jim Collins.

The county plans to install a light at Belcher Road and Nebraska Avenue. The section west of that light will remain two lanes, although the county is planning to build a decorative roundabout at Nebraska and County Road 1 as part of its efforts to spruce up the downtown Palm Harbor area.

The developer of the 24-hour Winn-Dixie plaza on the southwest corner of Nebraska and U.S. 19 widened the intersection on the west side of U.S. 19 to include two left turn lanes and a median.

The county plans to improve Nebraska on the east side of U.S. 19 as well, Collins said.

That segment now has a left turn lane allowing cars to head south on U.S. 19 and a through lane directing cars west on Nebraska Avenue.

But cars often crowd the tiny intersection trying to turn north onto U.S. 19, Collins said. A separate lane will be added for that purpose.

"It gets a little hairy now," he said.

The traffic light at that corner will also be replaced with a mast-arm signal that is more resistant to hurricanes and heavy winds.

Included in the project are some changes to Riviere Road, a north-south street that runs past the Palm Harbor Library and two athletic complexes _ Palm Field and Putnam Park.

The road will remain two lanes but will receive bike lanes to benefit the users of those facilities, Collins said.

The county also will address some drainage problems along that road and will add a left turn lane to help drivers pull onto Nebraska Avenue.

The entire project is expected to take about 14 months, Collins said.

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