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Dr. Delay: Trucks banned at night from McMullen Booth Road for a reason

A reader wonders why the sign at the end of Bayside Bridge instructs trucks heading north to exit during specified hours rather than stay on the bridge.

CLEARWATER — Initially it seems appropriate that large, commercial trucks traveling north on the Bayside Bridge would continue in that direction toward McMullen Booth Road if they wish to travel north.

But the county thinks otherwise.

At the end of the bridge, signs direct trucks to exit onto State Road 60 west between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Ever wonder why?

Well, one reader in particular has. Mike Richardson doesn’t see the point of exiting the bridge just to continue straight heading north on the one-way street that eventually becomes McMullen Booth Road.

But there’s the problem. They aren’t supposed to continue straight.

Once they exit, trucks are supposed to turn left onto State Road 60 (Gulf to Bay Boulevard) west toward Clearwater and then take U.S. 19 to continue north.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking — it seems longer. So, again, why would the county make commercial trucks already traveling north detour west only to head north again?

Well folks, it’s actually quite simple. .

McMullen Booth Road is largely flanked by residential areas, with people in homes who might be bothered by heavy truck traffic.

U.S. 19, on the other hand, is a busier road that houses hotels, restaurants, strip malls and grocery stores, so lots fewer people to be bothered by truck noise.

The county ordinance that created the truck route dates back to 1982.

In his 15-year tenure with Pinellas County Public Works, Thomas Washburn said there have been a few requests to reconsider it, but this is not something he thinks the public will allow.

“When we review it, we always have to take it to the public, and the public always wants trucks off McMullen Booth Road,'' he said. “If it were up to the public, they’d get rid of trucks completely.”

Be prepared for the John’s Pass Seafood Festival in Madeira Beach

Madeira Beach prepares for its 38th annual John’s Pass Seafood Festival this weekend, expected to draw thousands. The city will provide several options for parking, including full-service valet parking at John’s Pass Beach Park and exclusive, unlimited daily parking at the municipal lot at Gulf Boulevard and 130th Avenue for $20, which is a short walk from the Seafood Festival. All other municipal lots will remain at $2.50 per hour.

Vehicles displaying official handicapped placards, stickers or license plates, or a Madeira Beach Resident Parking sticker will park with no charge in all municipal lots except for the full-service valet parking lot at John’s Pass Beach Park. The easiest way to pay for parking is to download and use the free Park Mobile app, which allows you to reserve as much time as you want once you park in a space, or to add time without having to return to your vehicle and feed a meter.

A free Jolley Trolley shuttle service will operate each day of the festival with shuttle buses traveling a continuous route from Madeira Beach City Hall to John’s Pass Village with pickups and drop-offs at City Hall, Archibald Beach Park, the Madeira Shops on 150th Avenue and County Park. The Dolphin Quest cruise boat will ferry people from the Madeira Beach Recreation Center to the docks at John’s Pass Village for $5.

TRAFFIC UPDATES AND ROAD CLOSURES:

Hernando County:
  • Lane closures continue 24 hours a day through Saturday for U.S. 98 new bridge construction of Suncoast Parkway 2, half-mile on each side of Suncoast Parkway (State Road 589)
Hillsborough County:
  • Lane closures continue through Friday from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Interstate 275 operational improvements from west of State Road 60 (Exit 39) to Lois Avenue (Exit 40B).
  • Lane closures continue through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Florida Avenue to Ida Street for US Business 41 (Highland Avenue and W Violet Street) roadway/pedestrian improvements.
  • Intermittent lane closures continue through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for U.S. 41 drainage and sidewalk installation from Bullfrog Creek to Denver Street.
  • Nightly lane closures continue through Friday from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for State Road 60 (Kennedy Boulevard) traffic signal upgrades from Armenia Avenue to Brevard Avenue.
  • Nightly lane closures continue through Saturday from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. for SR 60 operational improvements at SR 589 (Veteran’s Expressway).
  • Nightly lane closures continue through Friday from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. at SR 60 under I-275.
  • Nightly lane closures continue through Friday from 8:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. for SR 580 (Busch Boulevard) repaving from Armenia Avenue to Florida Avenue.
  • Lane closures continue through Friday from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for SR 674 (Sun City Center Boulevard) repaving from Cypress Village Drive to U.S. 301 (eastbound only).
  • Lane closures with flagging operations continue through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for County Road 580 (Sam Allen Road) widening from east of Paul Buchman Highway (SR 39A) to Park Road.
  • Lane closures continue through Saturday for CR 672 (Big Bend Road) bridge replacement from Dickman Road to Wyandotte Road.
  • Both directions of West Shore Boulevard may be closed to all traffic under I-275 between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. through Friday nights.
Pasco County:
  • Lane closures continue through Friday U.S. 301/U.S. 98 repaving from Pond Avenue to Long Avenue/Pioneer Museum Road from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Pinellas County:
  • Lane closures through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Interstate 275 interchange improvements at 22nd Avenue S (southbound only)
  • Lane closures continue through Saturday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on I-275 from south of Gandy Boulevard (Exit 28) to Fourth Street N (Exit 32) and on I-275 northbound Exit 30 ramp to westbound State Road 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) and westbound 118th Avenue (CR 296) for the Gateway Expressway (new tolled roadway system)
  • Intermittent lane closures continue through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for Alt. U.S. 19 (Myrtle Avenue) repaving from State Road 60 (Chestnut Street) to Mohawk Street
  • Lane closures continue through Saturday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. from U.S. 19 Frontage Roads from 110th Avenue N to 126th Avenue N Gateway Expressway (new tolled roadway system)
  • Nightly lane closures continue through Friday from 8:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. SR 679 (Pinellas Bayway Structure E) bridge replacement and repaving from north of Yacht Club Lane to SR 682
  • Nightly lane closures continue through Friday from 7:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. for SR 682 (54th Avenue S) repaving from U.S. 19 to 41st Street S
  • Lane closures continue through Saturday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on the SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) entrance ramp to the Bayside Bridge, on SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) from SR 688 (Ulmerton Road) to 49th Street, and on SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) from 28th Street to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street for the Gateway Expressway (new tolled roadway system)

Monique Welch is a staff writer at the Tampa Bay Times, and the voice behind Dr. Delay. Send your traffic concerns, questions, and pictures of roadway troubles you spot in your travels around the Tampa Bay area to docdelay@tampabay.com. Follow @AskDrDelay.

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