Drainage work associated with the U.S. 41/Gulfstream Avenue roundabout project at First Street has been completed, but don’t look for the intersection at North Tamiami Trail to be opened anytime soon.
That was one update provided by Project Engineer Pinky Pakalapati during Wednesday’s monthly update of the FDOT project that has snarled traffic through the area for nearly two years.
Although the end is in sight with the actual roundabout taking shape and moving toward a mid- to late fall completion, inconveniences and street closures in the area will remain as work on the approaches to the circle from the south, north and west continues, along with the impending paving of the circle itself.
The intersections of First Street, Second Street and Palm Avenue at U.S. 41 will remain closed for the foreseeable future as work continues between First Street and Fruitville Road. Asphalt is being removed from that stretch in preparation for the drainage work.
“The roadway template is being worked on inside the roundabout footprint. Most of that is completed and the curbs for the roundabout truck apron have been done,” Pakalapati said during the online update meeting. “The truck apron base has been prepared and we're just waiting on concrete to come in. It's a red color, pigmented concrete. We're having some trouble with the materials shortages. We were ready to put in the concrete last week, but the vendor canceled the concrete so it has to be pushed out to next week. Hopefully we'll get that done next week.”
When the truck apron concrete installation does commence — it’s currently scheduled for July 26 — work will begin around 4 a.m., Pakalapati said, when temperatures are cooler and rain chances are lower in order to achieve consistent pigmentation.
Paving is also scheduled the first week of August for the roundabout itself. Pakalapati said he expects that to be a three- to four-day operation, followed by striping. Once complete, traffic will be switched to a new pattern, one that will include changes for traffic coming off the barrier islands.
Eastbound traffic from the Ringling Bridge will be split into northbound and southbound lanes prior to reaching the roundabout. “When that happens … the south side south and east side of the roundabout will be opened up to us for working in that area,” Pakalapati said, adding at some point southbound U.S. 41 exiting the roundabout will be temporarily narrowed from two lanes to one.
Meanwhile, not affiliated with the roundabout project, Pakalapati reported FDOT is nearing completion of the re-striping of the Ringling Bridge to create a shared Bay Runner/bicycle/e-scooter shoulder.
“The Ringling Bridge striping is almost 95% completed,” he said. “I think they're expecting that to be completed this week.”