PALM RIVER — It’s now been four years since motorists have been able to use the Maydell Drive bridge that crosses the Tampa Bypass Canal after Hillsborough County found it was structurally unsound.
And residents are growing impatient.
Ricky Bell, a reader and longtime Palm River and Clair Mel resident, mailed a handwritten letter to the Doc expressing his frustration with the delay.
He said the “major transportation artery” has been closed for too long and is “foolish at best.”
Bell also expressed frustration with the required detours that have forced drivers to venture to U.S. 41 and 78th Street — two much busier streets than the two-lane 616-foot long Maydell Drive bridge that connected the Palm River community to State Road 60.
Unfortunately, the Maydell Drive Bridge construction project has taken a back seat to other bigger county projects, such as the Citrus Park Drive extension project and the Carrollwood Village Park project.
But now it is back on their radar.
In April, the county held a public hearing meeting that allowed the public to view the new design and hear the plans for the new bridge.
The design phase is now complete and construction is scheduled to begin mid-2020, according to Chris Wilkerson, the senior media relations strategist for Hillsborough County.
The old bridge will be completely demolished, and the new bridge is designed to serve as a multi-use bridge for cars, pedestrians and bicyclists.
It will remain a two-lane bridge, but will gain travel lanes, eight-foot shoulders, a barrier separated five-foot sidewalk and a 10-foot trail.
TRAFFIC UPDATES AND CLOSURES:
- State Road 50 (Cortez Boulevard) widening from Windmere Road/Bronson Boulevard to U.S. 98 causes lane closures through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Lane closures continue with flagging operations at Sligh Avenue under Interstate 75 through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Lane closures continue on West Shore Boulevard (County Road 587) at I-275 through Friday from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
- U.S. 41 repaving from Bullfrog Creek to Denver Street causes intermittent lane closures from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- State Road 60 (Kennedy Boulevard) traffic signal upgrades from Armenia Avenue to Brevard Avenue cause lane closures through Friday from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- SR 60 operational improvements at SR 589 (Veteran’s Expressway) cause nightly lane closures through Saturday from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
- SR 582 (Fowler Avenue) median improvements at 12th Street causes lane closures through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Lane closures with flagging operations on CR 580 (Sam Allen Road) from east of Paul Buchman Highway (SR 39A) to Park Road from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- NOTE: The intersection of Paul Buchman Highway (SR 39A) and Sam Allen Road (CR 580) remains closed to all through-traffic (the closure began Sept. 15). The intersection is expected to be closed until mid-December. Access to business and residential properties will be maintained.
- The intersection is closed for various construction activities, including replacement of the CSX railroad tracks, utility relocations, and roadway construction associated with the Sam Allen Road widening project.
- DETOURS: Buchman Highway (SR 39A) through-traffic is detoured to Alexander Street (SR 39), using Monroe and Franklin streets. Sam Allen Road (CR 580) through-traffic is detoured using Alexander (SR 39), Franklin and Monroe streets, Buchman Highway (SR 39A), N. Frontage Road, and Park Road. Detour signs are in place to assist motorists through the detours. Motorists should expect heavier than normal traffic volumes on these roads during this closure.
- CR 672 (Big Bend Road) bridge replacement from Dickman Road to Wyandotte Road causes lane closures all day through Saturday
- U.S. 301/U.S. 98 repaving from Pond Avenue to Long Avenue/Pioneer Museum Road causes lane closures through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- The Little Road Pavement Rehabilitation Project began this week starting Sunday and through Thursday from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
- Project Details:
- Expect single-lane closures with message boards directing traffic
- Target completion date is the end of February 2020, depending upon weather conditions
- Road work includes milling and resurfacing of the existing roads, as well as new pavement markings and restriping.
- The paving project includes the northbound and southbound lanes of Little Road between DeCubellis Road and Trouble Creek Road.
- Lane closures with flagging operations continue for State Road 699 (Gulf Boulevard) drainage improvements from Walsingham Road to First Avenue North through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Intermittent lane closures continue for Alternate U.S. 19 (Myrtle Avenue) repaving from SR 60 (Chestnut Street) to Mohawk Street from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Gateway Expressway updates and lane closures through Saturday:
- I-275 from south of Gandy Boulevard (Exit 28) to Fourth Street (Exit 32) and I-275 northbound Exit 30 ramp to westbound SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) and westbound County Road 296 (118th Avenue) from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
- U.S. 19 Frontage Roads from 110th Avenue N to 126th Avenue N, SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) from SR 688 (Ulmerton Road) to 49th Street N, SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) entrance ramp to the Bayside Bridge, SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) from 28th Street N to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N, CR 611/ 49th Street from 145th Avenue to Bayside Bridge from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- 118th Avenue N from U.S. 19 to 34th Street N from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @AskDrDelay.