tampabay.com

Railroad work will close roads

By LORRIE LYKINS
Published May 23, 2007


Northbound commuters should be prepared for two upcoming projects to upgrade CSX railroad crossings that require major roads to be closed for a few weeks.

The first project involves the CSX railroad crossing at McMullen-Booth Road north of Ruth Eckerd Hall. Work is set to begin at the end of this month to coincide with the decrease in traffic related to the end of school and the tourist season.

Once work begins on McMullen-Booth, the entire road will be closed in both directions for about three weeks. This timetable is subject to change, as weather conditions may affect the project's progress. U.S. 19 will serve as the main detour route for traffic, and signs will be in place to give motorists detour information.

The second project will upgrade the CSX crossing at Bryan Dairy Road between Starkey and Belcher roads. The project is scheduled to start sometime in June. Bryan Dairy Road will also be closed in both directions for about three weeks. Main detour routes for east-west traffic will be Belcher, Starkey and Ulmerton roads.

In addition to railroad crossing improvements performed by CSX, the Pinellas County Public Works Department will work on adjacent drainage systems, installation of sidewalks and other improvements during road closings at both locations.

Because the McMullen-Booth and Bryan Dairy roads projects will be active during the fast-approaching hurricane season, it's important to note these closures and alternate routes when planning your hurricane evacuation route.

The Pinellas County government Web site will post updates on the progress of both projects at www.pinellascounty.org/roadwork.htm.

31ST STREET S

Road restriping seems to be near end, finally

Southside motorists should be pleased that the repainting of traffic lanes on the recently paved 31st Street S appears to be wrapping up this week.

Readers have been wonder since early April when the project would be completed.

Judging by the Doc's e-mails, it has been bugging quite a few of you, especially because 31st Street was restriped from Fifth Avenue S to First Avenue N, then things seemed to come to a sudden halt for more than a month.

DOWNTOWN

Colorful markings are business, not graffiti

The explosion of colorful spray paint on some sidewalks downtown that trails out into the street at the corners of Third and Fourth streets between Fifth avenues N and S have some residents and motorists wondering whether the markings are the work of marauding graffiti vandals.

Turns out the artists are workers sporting hard hats and reflective vests.

Mike Frederick, the city's neighborhood transportation director, assured the Doc that the symbols, numbers and other color-coded scribbles are the work of utility engineers preparing for a rehabilitation job that will include new sidewalks and curbs once utility upgrades are completed sometime this summer.

Frederick said that right now the preliminary work is happening underground, and this is the reason for the street markings. The surfaces will all be pristine once the work is completed.

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AAA is predicting an increase in the number of vehicles on the roads during this year's Memorial Day weekend, estimating that 38.3-million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the three-day weekend, in spite of the increase in gasoline prices.

Your best bets for a good trip: Plan ahead, leave early, buckle up and take it easy. Heat and humidity tend to add fuel to incidents of road rage, so stay cool.

Please share your traffic concerns, comments and questions with Dr. Delay via e-mail at docdelay@yahoo.com.