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Sarasota Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009 6 years ago

Downtown roundabout delayed

by: Robin Roy City Editor

After prospective contractors told the city there was little likelihood of completing a combined Five Points roundabout and a Main Street and Palm Avenue intersection-improvement project before tourist season, the city decided to delay the project until at least April, possibly July. There is even a slight chance the roundabout could get killed altogether.

Contractor proposals were supposed to be due Sept. 1. But the city wanted the majority of the work to be completed by Thanksgiving to keep any interruption for merchants during tourist season to a minimum.

Glenn Marzluf, a public works general manager, said after contractors expressed concern that that goal could be met, the city decided to pull the request for proposals and issue it later.

Marzluf asked Downtown Improvement District board members Tuesday their preference on when the project should resume.

Board member Andrew Foley suggested the construction, which could shut down all of Main Street from Five Points to Palm Avenue, wait until after July 4, because it will be out of season and would not interfere with the holiday parade.

The city will meet again with business owners, downtown residents and community groups to see if support for the project is still there.

If what has been a positive response turns negative, Marzluf said the city may not build the roundabout, but new traffic-light mast arms would have to be installed, because the intersection is in need of improvements.

The city also wants input on whether to close both lanes of traffic in the affected area and get the project done more quickly or leave a lane open and have a longer construction timetable.

The intersection improvements at Main and Palm also include building bulbouts to make the pedestrian crossing shorter and installing new trees and plants.

The Five Points roundabout calls not only for the removal of traffic lights and road construction, but it also will require replacement of water lines underneath the street.

Although Marzluf believes construction could be completed in three months, he acknowledges that Five Points is one of the oldest areas of downtown, so he’s not sure what the contractor will find underneath the roadway. It’s possible that ancient utility lines could cause unforeseen problems and force delays in construction.

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