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News Worthy week ending February 14, 2020

US 41 and Fruitville Roundabout Update

A custom-made box culvert designed to improve storm water flow beneath US 41 to Sarasota Bay has been manufactured and soon will be delivered on site. To install this critical infrastructure, the contractor, Wright Construction, will have to dig approximately 5-6 feet beneath US 41 between Fruitville Rd. and Second St. To minimize impacts, this work will be done overnight during the next few weeks, with at least one lane remaining open in each direction. By morning rush hour, all traffic lanes will reopen. Improving the storm water conveyance system is very important in that area, which is low-lying and prone to flooding while becoming more susceptible as sea levels rise.

The US 41-Fruitville Rd. roundabout project remains on schedule to be completed in Fall 2020, and we anticipate by early March the new traffic patterns for the project will be in place, including the return of the third left turn lane from Gulfstream Ave. to northbound US 41, the westbound closure of Fruitville Road from Cocoanut Ave. to US 41, and new bypass lanes west of the US 41-Fruitville Rd. intersection. Regularly updated information is available at www.US41FruitvilleRoundabout.com

The roundabouts at US 41-Fruitville Rd. and US 41-Gulfstream Ave. have been part of the community’s vision to improve Bayfront connectivity and traffic flow for over two decades, dating back to 1999 when roundabouts along US 41 were identified in the Downtown Master Plan. An engineering report from Kimley-Horn to the Florida Department of Transportation just last March states that a roundabout at Fruitville Rd., when compared to a traditional signalized intersection, would reduce delay during peak hours in February by 51 percent and in March by 53 percent. The report also shows a roundabout at Gulfstream Ave. will have a positive impact on traffic congestion, with a 29 percent reduction in delay during peak hours in February and a 41 percent drop in March. These are significant reductions in wait time, especially for those going to/from the barrier islands.

Moreover, it’s FDOT’s policy to consider roundabouts for intersection improvements because of the significant benefits of improved traffic flow and enhanced safety for motorists and pedestrians. The Federal Highway Administration notes 35 percent fewer crashes occur in a roundabout than a signalized intersection. In addition, the slower speeds greatly increase safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Over the past 10 years, crashes at the US 41-Gulfstream Ave. area have been increasing. There have been 353 crashes, including two fatalities, one due to speed, the other a head-on collision. Professional transportation and engineering staff can say with confidence that those fatalities would not occur when the roundabout is constructed due to the decreased speed and configuration of the intersection.

The US 41-Fruitville Rd. and Gulfstream Ave. roundabouts also will aid in storm water flow. The Gulfstream Ave. roundabout construction project will help with wthe area of the city that is flood prone with heavy rains. As part of the Gulfstream Ave. construction project, more drainage inlets will be added, the capacity of FDOT’s storm water retention ponds will increase significantly, and water treatment within the retention ponds also will increase.

Crosswalk Art – Main Street

The City of Sarasota is testing the idea of displaying artwork on pedestrian crosswalks in downtown, crews  at the Public Works Department painted the crosswalk in the 1500 block of Main Street near Smokin’ Joe’s Friday morning.

The design is a rainbow display of vertical bars painted in a spectrum of colors symbolizing Sarasota as a welcoming community. Similar designs have been painted in crosswalks in cities around the country, and this one in downtown Sarasota is timely, with the Embracing Our Differences art exhibit on display at nearby Bayfront Park through April 5.

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