By Brian Bokor
A road closure between Dean St. and Abylar Ave. on Riverview Dr. will be required to perform work for the new 25-acre Riverview/Alafia Conservation Park. The road will be closed during the construction of a roundabout near the park entrance on Riverview Dr. Once approved, the road closure of Riverview Dr. could begin as early as September 2021, with the project expected to take a minimum of 90 days.
The detour route for westbound traffic on Riverview Dr. will be Krycul Ave. to U.S. 301 to BloomingdaleAve. /Progress Blvd. to S. 78th St. to Riverview Dr., with the reverse path suggested for those traveling eastbound.
When asked about the decision to make the intersection a roundabout as opposed to a traditional signalized intersection, Sandra Gonzalez., P.E., design manager for Hillsborough County’s Capital Programs Department, said, “The county evaluated the proposed intersection of Riverview Dr. and the entrance to the new park and determined that reconstructing it in a roundabout configuration will greatly improve the safety and operations.”
“Constructing a roundabout will provide better safety and mobility for vehicles and pedestrians traveling through the proposed intersection,” added Gonzalez. “New and updated features will be added in order to provide safer and more efficient navigation. This roundabout has other benefits, such as having minor impacts to utilities and requiring minimal effort to maintain in the future. The Riverview Dr. intersection improvement is in keeping with Vision Zero principles, which seek to design roadways that are safer for all users.”
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, roundabouts are safer as they eliminate most lethal crashes, such as T-bone and head-on crashes that happen at traditional intersections. Speeds are generally below 25 mph, which minimizes crash severity and has been shown to reduce injury and fatal crashes by over 90 percent.
Slower speeds also benefit other users, including pedestrians and bicyclists, as they offer safe refuge in the roundabout approach splitter islands, providing shorter crossing distances. Roundabouts safely and efficiently operate the same before, during and after major storms, so traffic maintenance crews can focus their attention on maintaining and repairing signalized intersections.
Additionally, the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners approved two public art projects for this location, with the one proposed for the center of the roundabout at Riverview Dr. to be a sculpture of Benjamin Moody, the founder of Riverview. The bronze statue will be approximately 7 feet in height and will sit atop a concrete pedestal.