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East County Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019 3 weeks ago

FDOT contemplates I-75 expansion in Sarasota, Manatee counties

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Car pool lanes being considered for future interstate corridor
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Even as the Florida Department of Transportation works to widen Interstate 75 to eight lanes between state roads 70 and 64, the department is considering further expansion of its interstate system.

FDOT has begun a program to lead to the long-term build-out of the interstate corridor in Southwest Florida. The program includes a “managed lanes” study of I-75 from North River Road in Venice to Moccasin Wallow Road in Parrish.

Future lanes could be general-use lanes, or managed lanes, options for which include carpooling or high-occupancy vehicle lanes, toll lanes, semi-truck-only lanes and bus-only lanes. There also could be a “reversible” lanes, which would allow the direction of the lane to switch at peak morning and evening times, for example.

“The goal is to move more people, not vehicles,” FDOT spokesman Brian Rick said. “As a society, we are transitioning from reacting to traffic needs to anticipating future needs and rising to the occasion by addressing them.”

FDOT Project Development Engineering Specialist Joshua Jester said the planning study and project development and environmental will take up to five years to complete.

“We’re going to be evaluating types of managed lanes,” Jester said. “That’s going to be a tremendous traffic study. Each of these managed lanes has pros and cons. We’re really looking for the best solution for the area.”

He said the study considers 2045 traffic projections.

Jester said the goal at the end of five years, after public involvement, is to have a completed study with a determination of what would be the best alternative to serve the area.

After the study is complete, FDOT could begin on recommended projects as funding allows. Segments of the roadway could be completed in different phases, depending on the need.

The five-year work program for fiscal years 2021-2025 also includes several other East County projects:

— Nearly $5 million for a signal at S.R. 64/Lorraine Road in fiscal year 2024;

— About $225,000 in fiscal year 2022 toward landscaping at S.R. 64 and GreyHawk Boulevard;

— More than $9.6 million in fiscal year 2021 toward project design and engineering and environmental studies for S.R. 70 from Lorraine Road to County Road 675/Waterbury Road; and

— About $46 million for additional lanes and reconstruction of S.R. 70 from Lorraine Road to Bourneside Boulevard.

The overall plan along S.R. 70 from Lorraine to County Road 675 includes widening and repaving of sections of S.R. 70, installing a traffic signal at Post/Greenbrook boulevards and building roundabouts at key intersections: the future Uihlein Road, Del Webb Boulevard, the future Bourneside Boulevard, Lindrick Lane, 213th Street East and Panther Ridge Trail. FDOT also will signalize the intersection of S.R. 70 with Greenbrook/Post boulevards.

The project would be broken into three segments: from Lorraine Road to just east of Post Boulevard, from just east of Post Boulevard to the future Bourneside Boulevard and from the future Bourneside Boulevard to County Road 675.

Total project cost is expected to be $90.1 million. Work on the final segment is not anticipated to begin until at least fiscal year 2023.

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