County Plans Improvements For High Volume Brandon Intersections
By Tamas Mondovics
Hillsborough County staff welcomed area residents last month to discuss details, receive public input and answer any questions during a meeting in connection with the proposed improvements at two high volume intersections in Brandon.Brandon Blvd. and Lakewood Dr.The first meeting was held in May at the Brandon High School cafeteria in connection with the Brandon Blvd. and Lakewood Dr. intersection. According to Hillsborough County spokesperson Steve Valdez, the project is not yet funded for design or construction, but safety is a concern at this intersection. During the period from January 2003 through August 2008, there were 293 reported crashes. Of that total, 17 percent involved either a left-turn or angle crash. The majority – 60 percent – of the crashes involved rear-end collisions. “These types of accidents are typical for a high volume signalized intersection,” Valdez said. In addition, there were seven accidents within the past 12 months due to left turns in and out of driveways north of the intersection on Lakewood Dr. According to the county’s crash data, during the past five years, there was one crash resulting in a fatality.The county hired Reynolds, Hills and Smith, Inc. (RH&S) to conduct a Preliminary Design and Engineering (PD&E) study and to recommend the needed improvements. The PD&E study is expected to be completed in July of 2010.Currently there are three proposed alternatives for this project, all of which include modifications to the north leg of the intersection only. A traffic separator is proposed to be constructed in the median for the entire length of the left-turn lane.Alternative No. 1: retains the existing lane configuration on Lakewood Dr., the lengths of the left-turn lane and the shared through/right-turn lane are extended to accommodate more vehicles in the queues. This alternative provides 12-ft. lanes, four-ft. bike lanes, a curb and gutter and six-ft. sidewalks at the back of curb in both directions. In addition, a traffic separator is constructed in the median for the entire length of the left-turn lane.Alternative No. 2: similar to alternative A. This alternative provides 11-ft. lanes; four-ft. bike lanes, a curb and gutter and five-ft. sidewalks installed three feet from the back of the curb to allow for a grass utility strip in both directions. In addition, a traffic separator is constructed in the median for the entire length of the left-turn lane.Alternative No. 3: similar to alternatives A and B. This alternative provides 11-ft. lanes, four-ft. bike lanes, a curb and gutter and six-ft. sidewalks at the back of the curb in both directions. In addition, a traffic separator is constructed in the median for the entire length of the left-turn lane. Causeway Blvd. and Providence Rd.The Causeway Blvd. and Providence Rd. intersection was the subject of a second public meeting held at the Providence Recreation Center, located at 5417 Providence Rd., which discussed needed improvements, focusing on residents’ safety as the main concern. For this project, the three alternatives included alternative A, which includes extending the existing eastbound left-turn lane and constructing a second eastbound left-turn lane on Causeway Blvd. This would include the construction of an additional northbound left-turn lane and installing a traffic island and creating a free flow southbound right-turn lane. A bicycle lane would be included in the eastbound approach improvements. Alternative B and C proposes the same improvements as alternative A, with the addition of an additional westbound left-turn lane and extending the existing westbound left-turn lane or a southbound left-turn lane and the creation of a free flow right-turn lane. According to Valdez, the PD&E study for this project phase was scheduled to be completed by the end of June, with the design phase to begin later this summer. “Construction is anticipated to begin in January of 2012 and would take approximately nine months, with a total project budget at $1.4 million dollars,” Valdez said, but added that all three alternatives are within this allocated budget funded by the Community Investment Tax funds. The proposed alternatives for both intersection projects can be viewed at www.hillsboroughcounty.org/pwprojects. For more information, please call Valdez at 272-5275 (TTY: 301-7173).