By Tamas Mondovics
Orange barrels blocking entrances to shopping centers off Bloomingdale Ave., just east and west of Providence Rd. in Brandon last month caught motorists by surprise.
Two weeks later, the barrels disappeared and were replaced by a number of official Hillsborough County Public hearing signs throughout the community, inviting residents to attend and to discuss the proposed modifications to the existing medians on Bloomingdale Ave. at the Providence Rd. intersection in Brandon.
During the meeting held at Providence West Park, at 5417 Providence Rd., county engineer, Dan Rhoades, said that work on the roadway first started in March, but then stopped as residents were wondering about what was going on.
Following public inquiry, county officials decided to schedule a public hearing to explain the project.
Rhoades said that the project is proposed to alter existing medians on Bloomingdale Ave. east and west of the Providence Rd. intersection to better facilitate traffic flow and improve safety.
“The modifications are needed to control the traffic and prevent crashes at and near the intersection,” Rhoades said.
The proposed modifications, east of the intersection, will include the extension of the existing median by 93 ft., and will allow motorists traveling west on Bloomingdale Ave. to turn left into the Winthrop Village shopping center.
Those traveling east on the roadway will also be able to turn right into the same center, but will not be able to turn left into the Taco Bell restaurant parking lot, which sits on the north side of the roadway.
To exit the center, the extended median will also force residents to only turn right or east onto Bloomingdale Ave. or will have to find their way through the shopping center parking lot and turn right onto Providence Rd. just south of Bloomingdale Ave.
The story is about the same west of Providence Rd. as the proposed median modification of an additional 280 ft. will not allow any left turns in or out of the adjacent shopping center, which includes a corner gas station, several fast food restaurants, local businesses as well as a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market.
The modification will force residents to enter the shopping area by means of Providence Rd., just south of Bloomingdale Ave., or take advantage of U-turns.
“I am pleased with the great solution to the traffic problems that has been plaguing the area,” said long-time local resident, Edith Steward.
Winthrop property owner, John Sullivan, also agreed with the county’s solution to the traffic problems and said, “It’s all about balancing safety and commerce.”
Construction is expected to begin mid to late summer this year.
For more information, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org. or call 272-5275.