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Studies examine SR 64 widening, White Eagle speed limits

Photo by Lesley Dwyer
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With so many projects already in the works or planned for State Road 64, Manatee County and the Florida Department of Transportation continue to look ahead. 

A $1.2 million Project Development and Environment study to widen the 7.75-mile segment of S.R. 64 between Lorraine Road and Verna Bethany Road from two lanes to four was added to the county’s list of legislative priorities at the commission meeting on Jan. 9.

Traffic Management Deputy Director Clarke Davis told commissioners that while S.R. 64 isn’t there yet, it won’t be long before the road needs capacity improvements.

The request was also added to the list of Metropolitan Planning Organization priorities because regional support helps secure state and federal funding.

“This is an area of the county that’s growing rapidly,” Davis said. “The state seems supportive. It recognizes the emerging need there.”

A PD&E study is the first step before design, right-of-way acquisition and construction. The request is for a study only. Design and construction of the project are not on either priority list yet.

Another item on the commissioners' agenda was requests from residents to evaluate the speed limits on White Eagle Boulevard between State Road 64 and State Road 70. An engineering study was completed, but residents hoping to slow drivers down are out of luck.

Courtesy image

“Citizens’ requests to review the existing posted speed limit may initiate the study, but it does not play a significant role in determining the appropriate posted speed limit,” Traffic Engineering Division Manager Vishal Kakkad said. “The recommended speed limit is an outcome of staff’s engineering study and analysis.”

The 40 mph speed limit from Gatewood Drive to S.R. 70 will remain the same. From Gatewood Drive to S.R. 64, the speed limit will increase 5 mph in certain sections for uniformity’s sake.

“The corridor was constructed in several segments over the years,” Kakkad said. “There were multiple posted speed limits in the northern section. Therefore, to meet drivers’ expectations, a consistent speed limit was recommended.” 

He also said that posting a realistic speed limit helps with meaningful enforcement. 

Carolyn Lowry-Nation, who lives in Esplanade, agreed with the need for realistic speed limits.

“I think our speed limits on White Eagle are fine,” she said. “It’s the speed limit on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard that is definitely too slow, and everyone ignores it.”



Lesley Dwyer

Lesley Dwyer is a staff writer for East County and a graduate of the University of South Florida. After earning a bachelor’s degree in professional and technical writing, she freelanced for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Lesley has lived in the Sarasota area for over 25 years.

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