+ I-75 traffic affects all of East County
I read your article in this week’s East County addition of the Observer about the traffic situation in the East County around the new mall.
Like most people in the East County, I am closely following what is being considered/done to alleviate the traffic in the I-75/University Park exchange. It is important to recognize that many of us in this area do not live in Lakewood Ranch and are just as affected — maybe more so, by the traffic.
I live just west of I-75 between State Road 70 and University Parkway, and I have no way to get south to University other than going back north to S.R. 70 and then going south on I-75 or going north and then west on S.R. 70 and then go south on Lockwood Ridge.
Every day I need to backtrack because of the lack of another north/south route. From a mileage perspective, it is a ridiculous waste of fuel, not to mention time. We continue to need another north/south road between S.R.70 and University Parkway, namely the Tara Bridge connecting to Honore or an alternative through-road.
All of us who have to do this also add to additional traffic on S.R. 70, which is also becoming congested.
Today (March 21), I was going north on I-75 at 1:10 p.m. and saw that traffic was backed up bumper to bumper going south on I-75 in all three lanes. Traffic was caused by the congestion getting off at University, and it was backed up north well past the S.R. 70 interchange.
Every consideration is made for the people who live in Lakewood Ranch, extend Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and Lorraine Road, build an overpass or connector around the mall and whatever they need.
They obviously have a good and active lobby. Unfortunately, those of us who do not live in large communities do not have that voice. I am hoping that you can investigate this worsening problem and help us get our story told.
Beth Bertsch, Bradenton
+ Fort Hamer bridge idea should be axed
I read the article regarding the traffic problems in the University Park area in the March 13 Observer with special interest. I have always had a hard time understanding why the county commissioners were so interested in building the Fort Hamer Bridge to connect Upper Manatee River Road and Fort Hamer Road when there were other alternatives.
The Rye Road bridge has been recently updated, but Rye Road itself is in terrible condition. Your article mentions several connectors to Lorraine Road, which ends at State Road 64 and not far from Rye Road. The county should be eventually focusing on the improvement of traffic along Lorraine Road through to Rye Road by building the four-lane highway, which was part of the draft EIS report from the Coast Guard, and expanding the existing Rye Road two-lane bridge. Look at the improvements planned to help with the issues on University and capitalize on the traffic flow from there.
There is a lot of talk about how the Fort Hamer Bridge will alleviate traffic on I-75. That concept is nonsense. Upper Manatee River Road, the proposed bridge and Fort Hamer Road are two-lane roads. What help would that be to traffic? Just more congestion on a different road.
They are looking in the wrong place. They need a better plan to properly use impact fees and county dollars — a plan with the community in mind and logical traffic patterns.
I can only hope they start to look farther east and stop throwing good money after bad to build the Fort Hamer Bridge. Even the builders who funded much of the publicity, yellow shirts and campaign funds might agree. It’s time for a bigger, longer-range vision.
Mary Lou Kovac, Bradenton