tampabay.com

Raised medians and countdown signals part of repaving project

KENNEDY BOULEVARD Other road work is also happening.

By ALEXANDRA ZAYAS
Published May 4, 2007


In two separate repaving projects, Kennedy Boulevard is getting a multimillion-dollar makeover.

The Florida Department of Transportation started its first project in February, between Woodlyn and Brevard avenues in South Tampa.

The grassy raised medians installed to beautify the boulevard are the highlight of the $3.9-million project.

The medians break up nine stretches of turn lanes and have garnered mixed opinions from bordering businesses.

"I'm not happy with it, " said Cindy Jost at People Resources Inc. off Gomez Avenue. "I'm having problems getting into my driveway."

Across the street at Heritage Doors and Hardware, Gustavo Godoi hopes the median will ease traffic, which backs up in front of his business every afternoon.

"We see accidents every day, " said Kelly Marsh at Baby Boomerang off Bungalo Park Avenue. She hopes the median will cut down on crashes that happen when people try to turn into a neighboring gas station.

"We're glad to have them, " said her co-worker Mindy Socher. "Anything to make Kennedy more beautiful. If it makes us look like Hyde Park, that'll be great."

Workers will also add lighted street signs, replace older storm drainage from Edison to Oregon avenues and install pedestrian countdown signals, DOT spokeswoman Kris Carson said.

"We're adding those everywhere, " she said of the countdown signals. "They're easier for people to understand. It gives you the amount of seconds left to cross the roadway."

Lanes will be closed between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., Monday through Friday. Roadway signs will direct motorists around the work zone.

That project is slated for completion by August.

The second project, with an $8.9-million price tag, began April 9, on three downtown streets.

Workers began repaving Kennedy from the drawbridge to Channelside Drive; Jackson Street from Ashley to Brush Avenue; and Tampa Street from Violet Street to Jackson Street.

Most of the work will be done at night, and the project will take 10 months to complete.

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at 226-3354 or azayas@sptimes.com.