FDOT says Gulfstream roundabout beats the alternative

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Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer told commissioners last week that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) concluded that a roundabout planned for Gulfstream Avenue and US 41 performs better than an alternative concept.

Longboat Key has long fought the coming roundabout fearing it could impede traffic from the barrier islands that rely on efficient exit in both everyday activity, but especially in emergencies. The town had hoped the state would further monitor the effect of adding the triple left turn lane for traffic turning northbound onto US 41 after descending the Ringling Bridge.

However, the state is moving forward with no change in design but will incorporate strategic use of traffic planning and lane allocation to help alleviate traffic during the construction of the roundabout.

It is estimated that it will take about a year to a year-and-a-half to construct the roundabout and FDOT is due to advertise the project for bids on Oct. 6, 2020. The FDOT intends to award the contract on Nov. 11, and pre-phase construction will begin in Jan. 2021, and drivers will see traffic shifts as soon as April 2021.

Longboat Key has advocated for an elevated pedestrian crossover for US 41 during the construction phase to help keep traffic moving and enhance pedestrian safety and as Harmer says would be “a good opportunity to pilot the concept for future consideration of permanent crossovers.”

The FDOT is supportive of including a pedestrian bridge, but it would be dependent on support from the Ritz-Carlton in order to accommodate ramping necessary to meet American Disabilities Act requirements.


Coon Key recreational trail construction to start

Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin says that the Coon Multi-Use Recreational Trail (MURT) Project will soon be constructed on the north side of John Ringling Boulevard between the Coon Key Bridge and St. Armands Circle.

City work crews recently installed a new water main in the right-of-way and soon irrigation, landscaping and hundreds of trees will be added along with the 10-foot wide recreational trail.

Barwin says the project will be completed within two months and will create a connection from downtown to St. Armands Circle and beyond for pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists.

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