It wasn't that we were trying to keep you in suspense with the cryptic little footnote on last week's column about the decision, finally, to repair the rail crossing on 62nd Avenue N just west of 49th Street in Pinellas Park.
We would have told you more, but we got the word after the column was written and edited, and we could only squeeze in a small mention. But here we are, back again as promised a week later, with all the gory details.
The bad news first.
There are four crossings that CSX and Pinellas County have decided to fix, and all of them will require closing intersections while the work is being done. There is no approximate closing time for each intersection, but all four will take approximately six months. That averages out to six weeks per crossing, but some might be shorter and others longer.
So start looking now for alternative routes, and don't grumble. At least a crossing near you will get the needed work.
Here is the info we received from county spokesman Len Ciecieznski.
"Pinellas County Public Works Engineering will be working with CSX railroad to improve railroad crossings affecting four county roadways in the months to come.
"CSX has scheduled complete crossing replacements at 62nd Avenue N (west of 49th Street), Enterprise Road (East of McMullen Booth Road), Starkey Road (south of Ulmerton) and the intersection of NE Coachman and Old Coachman roads.
"CSX will be replacing rails and ties; Pinellas County will be rebuilding roadbeds and implementing drainage and sidewalk repair ...
"The contractor bid requests have been sent out; work is expected to begin in October (starting with the 62nd Avenue crossing) and will last approximately six months for all four crossings."
Now I'm going to save you some time and trouble. All of you have your least favorite rail crossings, and I hear from you regularly about them. I see in Jessie's crystal ball that many of you are poised to run to your computers or your typewriters or your pens to ask me, "Well what about my crossing?"
Please don't. I have told you everything I know. There are many other rail crossings out there that need work. But there is no word on when others might get needed attention.
With one little exception.
The city has filled in the worst of the holes in the notorious rail crossing on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg in front of police headquarters.
It's a long way from a complete fix. But it's an improvement.
If you long for the good old days of very rough tracks, you can still get your jollies on the tracks on First Avenue N behind police headquarters. Nothing has been done to help them.
Don't you just love it when things get fixed? One of our Eyeball Jigglers of the Week was a big, deep pothole in Interstate 275 as you approached the Gandy Boulevard exit.
Fixed by the state roadies on Aug. 20.
Another was a horrible dip in the road along southbound 66th Street N approaching Fourth Avenue. The ever-alert and responsive roadie spokeswoman, Kris Carson, wrote to us about it.
"We are coordinating with the city (of St. Petersburg) on the pavement concern on 66th Street at Fourth Avenue N," Kris said. "The city has a sanitary sewer line at this location and the pavement has been repaired before. We will overlay the area and also work with the city on repairs."
That is just tres cool.
Our Eyeball Jiggler of the Week is a big pothole at the entrance to the right-turn lane that takes you from 118th Avenue N in Pinellas Park to the new Interstate 275 ramp to Tampa and St. Petersburg.
The pothole is just off the roadway, but if you happen to cut it too fine getting into the right-turn lane, you're going to need some dental work.
Since very few of us can avoid U.S. 19 forever, Jessie thought it might be helpful to give you a rundown of construction projects going on there. Some of these we have covered before, but now you'll have all of them in one place.
South to north:
Since U.S. 19 is one of the deadliest roads for pedestrians, the state roadies are building sidewalks. Lots of them. They will extend from 38th Avenue N all the way to the Pasco County line, should there be anyone out there who wants to walk from 38th Avenue N all the way to the Pasco County line.
Repaving, much needed, is in progress from Gandy/Park Boulevard to a point north of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. The overpass over Ulmerton Road will not be repaved, nor will a little section at 102nd Avenue N, but those are the only exceptions in that stretch.
Median improvements are under way from Gandy/Park to the Pasco line.
There will be new lanes north of State Road 580.
New overpasses have been funded at 110th and 118th avenues N. Others are under evaluation from just north of East Bay Drive to just south of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. And overpass improvements have been proposed for Gulf-to-Bay.
Overpasses are under construction at Drew Street, NE Coachman Road and Sunset Point Road, and another at Enterprise has been funded.
Now you know everything.
- Dr. Delay can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org by fax at 727 893-8675 or by snail mail at 490 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.