As crews prepare to start constructing a third roundabout on U.S. 41, those involved with the project want to make sure the public knows what to expect.
That’s why on Tuesday, Oct. 1, the city is hosting an informational open house regarding the roundabout at U.S. 41 and Fruitville Road. Construction is expected to begin next month and to continue through fall 2020.
Yvonne McClellan, a spokeswoman for the project, said some access to Fruitville Road will be limited during the project. Although north/south traffic through the intersection will continuously remain open, a portion of Fruitville Road will be closed to all westbound traffic. McClellan said drivers traveling north to the airport or south to the barrier islands will need to take an alternate route. The project team has identified Boulevard of the Arts and 10th Street as alternate routes.
Traffic speed will be reduced to 25 mph throughout the project limits, which run from First Street to Boulevard of the Arts on U.S. 41 and U.S. 41 to Cocoanut Avenue on Fruitville Road.
In addition to hosting the open house, McClellan said the project team would attempt to stay engaged with the public as construction begins.
“The project team will also be working closely with all interested parties to keep them informed about construction as it progresses and coordinate work to provide as much access as possible,” McClellan said.
When they initially authorized the roundabout project, city officials said they believed the traffic feature would enhance the flow of vehicular traffic compared to the signalized intersection. The city has also expressed interest in improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists along U.S. 41.
Residents on the barrier islands, including Longboat Key, have followed the city’s pursuit of a series of roundabouts along U.S. 41, interested in how the traffic changes might affect transportation over the Ringling Causeway. Although Longboat officials are concerned about the city’s plans to build a roundabout at U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue, Town Commissioner Jack Daly said he was optimistic the Fruitville roundabout would improve traffic.
More broadly speaking, Daly and Longboat Public Works Director Isaac Brownman said the town was focused on vehicular traffic as the city works to improve pedestrian and bicycle conditions on U.S. 41.
“Our concern and focus are on the impacts there that will impact automobile traffic flow on Longboat Key,” Daly said.
The roundabout project is being conducted in conjunction with the development of the nearby Sarasota Quay site. In exchange for accelerating the construction of the Fruitville roundabout, Jacksonville-based GreenPointe Communities will receive a $1.03 million credit toward development fees on the 15-acre bayfront property.