LAKEWOOD RANCH — Each time Dick Moran tries to leave the Edgewater community through its University Parkway exit, he feels like he’s playing the old arcade game, Frogger — taking his life into his hands as he tries to navigate through speeding, weaving traffic.
The non-signalized intersection, which connects Edgewater’s Waterview Boulevard entrance with the Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park’s Business Boulevard to the south, has become a safety concern for residents in Edgewater, in particular.
“It’s a bottleneck,” Moran said. “The real problem is the speeding and the amount of traffic. It’s been a problem for 12 years (while I’ve been here).”
But, soon, the issue may be addressed.
A new traffic study shows the intersection now warrants a traffic signal.
Manatee County District 5 Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said the county is looking at its budget to see if the intersection can be signalized sometime in 2014.
“If you drive up and down University Parkway, you know we need a light there,” said Baugh, who lived in Edgewater for two years. “There have been many accidents at that intersection already. It’s a very busy road, and it’s getting busier by the day.”
After receiving a call from an Edgewater resident, Baugh said she contacted the county’s public works department about having a traffic warrant study done at the intersection.
Vishal Kakkad, traffic design division manager for Manatee County, said the county still has to identify funding for the project. Once that step is completed, it can include the project in its capital improvements plan. Then, design and review work can begin.
Kakkad declined to give an estimate for the signalization project, because costs vary greatly depending on signal design, engineering and the need to acquire right of way, among other factors.
“That’s why programming these projects takes a while,” Kakkad said. “We have not delved into that. We have not done any preliminary estimates for this.”
Steve Peters, president of the Country Club/Edgewater Village Association, said CEVA had planned to send a letter to Baugh, thanking her for her efforts and asking her to continue to push for a traffic light at the intersection. With news the county is proceeding with the concept, however, he said he does not need to send the letter.