Hillsborough County is studying Lithia Pinecrest Road to identify and evaluate potential improvements to the roadway from FishHawk Boulevard to Lumsden Road and on Bloomingdale Avenue from Culbreath Road to Pearson Road, and it is relying on your feedback for assistance.

The public is invited to offer comments on this project and can sign up to receive updates for the duration by visiting the county’s Education & Engagement Hub at https://publicinput.com/n6144. The virtual engagement opportunity is available until Monday, June 10, so time is running short to participate.

On May 21 at Bloomingdale High School, the county hosted an in-person opportunity for residents who travel Lithia Pinecrest Road to study the corridor and the proposed improvements. Renderings of future improvements were stationed throughout the room, showing residents some of the proposed changes, with county representatives readily available to discuss any aspects of the project and asking for feedback. The topic most discussed among participants was the possible addition and locations of up to seven roundabouts along the study area.

Safe mobility for all roadway users, regardless of mode of travel, will be considered and incorporated into the study and the alternatives evaluated. Alternatives are being generated based on the result of a traffic analysis and feedback provided by the community.

Potential improvements currently being discussed include widening parts of Lithia Pinecrest Road for additional through-lane capacity along with access management improvements to incorporate turn lanes onto side streets.

Intersection analysis is being performed to evaluate roundabout alternatives and other intersection configurations, possibly as replacements for existing traffic signals.

Improved pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, including shared-use paths, a connected sidewalk system, buffered bike lanes and mid-block crossings, will be implemented to provide safer alternative routes for nonvehicular users of Lithia Pinecrest Road.

Moderating travel speeds to improve safety through reduced lane widths, lane deflections, landscaping and context-based roadway treatments are also in consideration.

Sandra Gonzalez, design manager for capital projects in Hillsborough County and subject matter expert for this project, explained the necessity of the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study: “The Project Development phase (which includes the PD&E study) is the first of four phases. During this phase, feedback from the community is gathered and reviewed. Design is the next phase, next followed by Land Acquisition and then Construction.”

Gonzalez made it clear that only the Project Development phase of this project has been funded, but the recommendations made during this phase are the ones that will be implemented into Design plans; meaning now is the time to give your input.

“There will be another meeting held in January 2025 to discuss the results of the public engagement. These public meetings are a necessary step in the process and required to lay the legal groundwork for future land acquisition cases where the eminent domain process will be required.”

The total cost of the project is estimated to be $216 million, with the Project Development phase funded at a cost of $6 million. Design ($10 million), Land Acquisition ($36 million) and Construction ($164 million) all remain unfunded at this time.

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Brian Bokor
Brian Bokor has lived in the Valrico area since 1997 and started writing freelance for The Osprey Observer in 2019. Brian (appraiser) and his wife, Sharon (broker), run a local real estate company (Bokors Corner Realty) as well as manage the Facebook page Bokors Corner, which highlights local-area commercial and residential development.