Within the next few weeks, the city will begin studying the effects of the first phase of its bayfront-connectivity plan.
Before the city can progress with its plan to build roundabouts on U.S. 41 along the bayfront, the state and federal governments require an impact study, which is scheduled to commence in February or March.
The project is designed to slow traffic and increase pedestrian and bicycle use on U.S. 41 near the city’s bayfront. Plans include slowing the speed limit to 30 mph from 45 mph, installing six roundabouts from 14th Street to Orange Avenue and creating wider, landscaped medians.
The first phase of the project includes building roundabouts at 14th Street and 10th Street.
Last spring, commissioners allocated $5.9 million to build the first two roundabouts. A consultant told the commission that it would cost approximately $5 million to improve the traffic signals at those intersections.
The federally funded research will study the effects of the project’s design on traffic and public utilities, as well as analyze construction and right of way costs.
The Federal Highway Administration will examine the study after its expected completion date in July 2012, and if it approves the findings, it could give the green light to construction, which could start by July 2015.
City officials hope the roundabout at 10th Street will decrease some of the traffic volume on U.S. 41 by directing cars downtown via Lemon Avenue.
Future phases of the bayfront-connectivity project could take up to 20 years to complete.
U.S. 41 roundabout locations:
• 14th Street
• 10th Street
• Fruitville Road
• Gulfstream Boulevard
• Main Street
• Orange Avenue
Contact Robin Roy at [email protected]