Two local high-traffic areas are under review by Hillsborough County for traffic improvements this month. Both Balm Riverview Rd. at Symmes Rd. and Progress Blvd. between Magnolia Park Blvd. and Valleydale Dr. are being looked at by the county for road improvements.
According to the county’s Todd Pratt, a Project Development and Environment Study (PD&E) evaluating improvements that can be made to the Progress Blvd. corridor is underway for about a half-mile of the existing Progress Blvd., and the project includes improvements within the limited-access right-of-way for I-75.
“The purpose of the project is to improve safety and mobility and reduce travel delays along Progress Boulevard,” said Pratt in a press release. “The improvements being evaluated in the study include widening the existing two-lane segment of Progress Boulevard to a four-lane divided roadway connecting to the adjacent four-lane segments of Progress Boulevard. The improvements also include 10-foot shared-use paths on both sides of the proposed roadway.”
This PD&E study evaluates the proposed improvements along with a no-build alternative. The evaluation is based on environmental effects, right-of-way needs, project costs and engineering factors.
The county is also designing an intersection improvement project that includes a roundabout for the intersection at Balm Riverview Rd. at Symmes Rd. that should improve safety and reduce delays.
According to Pratt, the intersection is currently unsignalized with a stop sign for motorists approaching the intersection from Symmes Rd. The current configuration creates long wait times for vehicles turning left from Symmes Rd. to go north on Balm Riverview Rd.
Roundabouts also have been proven to provide safer accommodations for pedestrians, as compared to standard signalized intersections. They are designed to promote slower entry, circulating and exit speeds. Raised splitter islands slow and deflect approaching traffic, while also providing refuge for pedestrians. Crosswalks, sidewalks and ADA features are also included in the design.
In order to construct the roundabout, Hillsborough County needs to acquire a property on the east side of Balm Riverview Rd., which provides the majority of right-of-way for the project. Design and land acquisition are anticipated to be complete by late 2022. Procurement for construction should start in early 2023, with construction beginning soon after. The construction is anticipated to begin in mid-2023 and end in early 2024.
The county will conduct a virtual engagement using the Hillsborough Engagement Hub to collect feedback from the public. Public comment for this project is open until Sunday, October 10 at 11:59 p.m. Visit hcflgov.net/hcengage to participate.