Lithia Pinecrest Improvement StandstillFor those who live in the Bloomingdale/Valrico area, you know the problems associated with Lithia Pinecrest Rd., amongst other roads in the area, which is why Hillsborough County officials are in the process of making alterations to the roadway.

Forced to reconvene after having their ideas rejected at a local meeting held at the Brandon Recreation Center, county officials are back to the drawing boards, analyzing their preliminary design and engineering analysis (PDE) for Lithia Pinecrest Rd., from FishHawk Blvd. to S.R. 60, to come to an alternative solution to make all happy. Not wanting to disregard engineering regulations nor residents’ views on the local road at hand, the county has decided to continue to hold meetings until a happy medium is found between the two sides. “As it stands right now, we are in the process of finding middle ground of what the public wants and what will handle the traffic,” said Hillsborough County spokesman Steve Valdez.

According to Valdez, there was a proposal to reroute Durant Ave. and Bell Shoals Rd. as a separate intersection south of Lithia Pinecrest Rd. and Lumsden Rd., intersecting the new roads with Lithia Pinecrest Rd. south to the current intersection. “It is a strange intersection. It is almost impossible to bring all the intersections all together at one intersection,” added Valdez. Mentioning that the public wasn’t too fond of the plan, Valdez said that the county still has no new concepts to unveil. No budget has been disclosed either, mentioned Valdez, which can only be assessed after the PDE study has been completed, revealing what needs to be done and whereat these changes need to be constructed so that a budget, design and acquisition costs can be finalized.

The county will be holding a few more meetings before this finalization is made, scheduling the next one for fall. Just in time as Lithia Pinecrest Rd. received an “F” rating, similar to many other roads that border this stretch of roadway. Determined by the amount of traffic traveling the road, Lithia Pinecrest Rd.’s rating is primarily due to new development. Valdez mentioned that it is hard to pinpoint the exact number of vehicles traveling the road daily as each section has different numbers with Lumsden Rd. and Bloomingdale Ave. outnumbering the rest.

Residents who would like to learn more about the upcoming changes or meeting dates are welcome to call 272-5275.

“It is imperative that we hear from the public that actually lives out there everyday, telling us what they want,” concluded Valdez. “The only difficulty is when the two disagree and how to marry these ideas. We can’t compromise good engineering standards, but we must implement residents’ concerns.”

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Carisa is a Senior News Reporter and Assistant Editor at the Osprey Observer. When she's not at work, she continues to write, working on future projects; hangs out with friends and family, her best friend (aka her husband) and her four dogs.