County Holds Public Meeting For Valrico Intersections’ Improvements

County Holds Public Meeting For Valrico Intersections’ Improvements
By Tamas Mondovics
Equipped to answer questions, Hillsborough County staff welcomed area residents to discuss proposed improvements at the intersections of Valrico Rd. at Wheeler Rd. and Valrico Rd. at Sydney Rd. in Valrico, both consisting of two-lane roadways.  The first of a series of public meetings was held at Colson Elementary School in Seffner, allowing residents to consider three improvement alternatives and a chance to voice their concerns and share their input with county staff.  Representing the County’s Public Works Department, project managers Angela Spieler and Sam Halabi explained the reasons for the improvements at both intersections, which included rush hour delays experienced by motorists due to the lack of dedicated turning lanes.  “A main problem is that motorists must wait to make a left turn, causing a backup for vehicles attempting to travel through or to turn right,” said county spokes person Steve Valdes. While the peak-hour delays affect many, it was safety that drew the attention of most, which county officials can not ignore. Records show that from 2006 to 2008, the Valrico and Wheeler roads intersection experienced 22 collisions, including one fatality, while the Valrico and Sydney intersection, during the same time period, had 26 no-fatality collisions. Valdez said that Hillsborough County hired the engineering firm of Kimley-Horn to conduct a Preliminary Design and Engineering (PD&E) Study, recommending various alternatives that include variations and/or a combination of road widening, left-turn lanes and the installation of traffic signals at either or both intersections following residents’ input. The PD&E study for the Valrico and Wheeler roads intersection is expected to be completed by May 2010 but is unfunded for design and construction. The same study for the Valrico and Sydney roads intersection is also expected to be completed by the same time, and, according to Valdez, this project is funded for design and construction and is scheduled to begin after the completion of the study phase.   Future public meetings will be held for design and construction. Visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org or call 272-5275.