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Bearss Avenue repaving still on schedule

Despite rain that has kept crews from working, the new top coat for the road's old section should be completed in January.

By TIM GRANT, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 29, 2002

CARROLLWOOD -- Back when Bearss Avenue ended at Lake Magdalene Boulevard, cars had to weave through a maze of residential roads to reach Dale Mabry Highway.

That changed in 1988 when Hillsborough County extended Bearss Avenue to Dale Mabry. But now that the older portion of Bearss is showing its age, the county has approved $550,000 to repair the road.

"It's just worn out," said Steve Valdez, Hillsborough County's community relations manager. "Bearss Avenue is one of the most heavily traveled east-west corridors in northwest Hillsborough County."

The section of Bearss between Nebraska Avenue and Zambito Road is being repaved with a fresh coat of asphalt. If weather conditions are good, Valdez said, the work should be done by mid January.

"This is one type of work that requires a totally dry roadway, and recent weather has prohibited work. Because the water table is so high, they can't work even when it looks dry to everyone else."

Still, the project, which started Nov. 11, is on schedule, he said.

Valdez said this job was not a complete resurfacing, in which the old asphalt is removed and replaced. The work crews are merely adding a new top coat of asphalt.

Records show that portion of Bearss has an estimated 30,000 vehicle trips a day. Valdez said the work schedule was designed to minimize congestion, but it's impossible to eliminate occasional traffic backups.

"We (only) close a couple of lanes at a time, one in each direction," Valdez said. "The machinery goes down one lane and back up the other so we don't have to interfere with travel lanes."

Also, the work is done from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The whole road is open to traffic before and after those hours.

Beth Stock said she traveled Bearss every day. She's looking forward to the roadwork being completed.

"It's an inconvenience, but at the same time, I know it needs to be done," Stock said.

The $550,000 for the Bearss Avenue repaving is funded partly from gas taxes and from a portion of the $132-million bond county commissioners authorized in March for transportation improvements.

There are no plans in this year's budget to repair any other portion of Bearss Avenue. Valdez said the next road improvement project would be on Fletcher Avenue between Florida Avenue and Dale Mabry Highway.

Work will begin on Fletcher as soon as the Bearss Avenue project is done, he said.

That also will involve spreading asphalt over the existing road surface, except for the portion between Lake Magdalene and Orange Grove Road, where construction crews will have to repair a depression that has developed on Fletcher Road.

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