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Dr. Delay: Faint traffic lights in Clearwater confuse drivers

Readers seem puzzled about the five traffic signals at the Seville Boulevard and U.S. 19 intersection.
Drivers are confused by the traffic light heading south on U.S. 19 Frontage Road at Seville Boulevard because it appears very dim, or possibly turned off rather than a solid green, yellow or red signal. [Tampa Bay Times]
Published Oct. 1

CLEARWATER — A curious reader, Mimi Scott, believes she’s speaking for other drivers when she shared how confusing the traffic light heading south on U.S. 19 Frontage Road at Seville Boulevard is because it appears very dim, or possibly turned off.

“I have seen people just stop not knowing what to do,” Scott said.

Turns out it’s neither.

This intersection has what is known as “programmable signal heads” that can be designed to only be viewed by certain lanes of traffic, according to Traffic Operations Division manager, Paul Bertels.

Chances are if you can’t see the signal, then it’s not for you.

“The heads are programmed so you can only see them if you are in the specific lane that you are occupying,” Bertels said.

“This is to prevent someone in the left turn lane thinking the signal over the abutting lane is for them.”

In this case, when driving off the ramp, you’ll see five signal heads. One directly in front of you for the left turn signal into the Clearwater Mall, two in front of the adjacent lane to regulate through traffic going southbound to the next on-ramp, and two that regulate the Frontage Road lane coming all the way from Gulf to Bay Boulevard and from Druid Road.

Looks like we better get used to it because it’s not going anywhere.

Bertels said traffic operations has discussed this several times with the Florida Department of Transportation and they feel it is operating the way it was intended.

It’s also worth a mention that after the Doc asked for other intersections where motorists frequently run red lights last week, a reader suggested that the Central Avenue and Pasadena Avenue intersection, and the Tyrone Boulevard and 66th Street intersection are also ones to avoid.

According to Nancy Schubart, it’s not just cars either.

“I’ve watched two city buses run the red light going south on Tyrone and turning right (south) on 66th," Schubart said.

Be careful out there folks.

TRAFFIC UPDATES AND ROAD CLOSURES:

Hernando County:
  • Lane closures east of N Mildred Avenue on Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for U.S. 41 (Jefferson Street) railroad crossing replacement
Hillsborough County:
  • Lane closures with flagging operations continue through Saturday on County Road 580 (Sam Allen Road) from east of Paul Buchman Highway (State Road 39A) to Park Road from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The intersection of Paul Buchman Highway (SR 39A) and Sam Allen Road (CR 580) is closed to all through-traffic until late November for the replacement of the CSX railroad tracks, utility relocations, and roadway construction for the Sam Allen Road widening project. Access to business and residential properties will be maintained.
  • The portion of the northbound Interstate 75 Exit 261 ramp that goes onto eastbound Interstate 4 is scheduled to be closed from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Thursday and Sunday nights.
  • Eastbound lane closures from 8:30 p.m. Thursday night until 5 a.m. Friday on I-4 from U.S. 301 (Exit 7) to CR 579/Mango Road (Exit 10)
  • Lane closures with flagging operations at Sligh Avenue under I-75 through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Lane closures for Augusta Drive repaving from Sun City Center Boulevard (SR 674) to Rickenbacker Drive Thursday from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. Friday.
  • Lane closures continue until Friday on I-275 from west of SR 60 (Exit 39) to Lois Avenue (Exit 40B) from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
  • State Road 60 may be closed to all traffic under I-275 through Friday night between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m.
  • Intermittent lane closures continue through Saturday from Bullfrog Creek to Denver Street from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for U.S. 41 drainage and sidewalk installation
  • Nightly lane closures continue through Saturday from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. at SR 589 (Veteran’s Expressway) for SR 60 operational improvements
  • Lane closures continue from Dickman Road to Wyandotte Road for CR 672 (Big Bend Road) bridge replacement through Oct. 14
Pasco County:
  • Lane closures continue through Friday from Pond Avenue to Long Avenue/Pioneer Museum Road from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for U.S. 301/U.S. 98 repaving
Pinellas County :
  • Gateway Expressway project lane closures:
    1. Lane closures continue through Saturday (southbound only) on Interstate 275 from Fourth Street (Exit 32) to south of Gandy Boulevard (Exit 28), and at the northbound Exit 30 ramp to westbound State Road 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) and westbound County Road 296 (118th Avenue) from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
    2. Lane closures continue through Saturday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. from 110th Avenue N to 126th Avenue N at U.S. 19 Frontage Roads, at SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) from SR 688 (Ulmerton Road) to 49th Street, at the SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) entrance ramp to the Bayside Bridge, SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) from 28th Street to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, and CR 611/49th Street from 145th Avenue to Bayside Bridge
    3. Lane closures continue through Saturday from 118th Avenue from U.S. 19 to 34th Street from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Southbound only lane closures at 22nd Avenue S continue through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for I-275 interchange improvements
  • Nightly lane closures continue through Friday from U.S. 19 to 41st Street S from 7:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. for SR 682 (54th Avenue S) repaving
  • Intermittent lane closures continue through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from SR 60 (Chestnut Street) to Mohawk Street for Alt. U.S. 19 (Myrtle Avenue) repaving
  • The right lane of eastbound I-175 over Sixth Street is closed around the clock.

Email Dr. Delay at docdelay@tampabay.com to share your traffic concerns, questions, and pictures of roadway troubles you spot in your travels around the Tampa Bay area. Follow @AskDrDelay.



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