Road work squeezes traffic on 16th Street
By PATRICK COOPER
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 10, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- Construction on 16th Street S that has delayed traffic for the past two weeks will continue for the next several months. But 12 blocks east, drivers can at last welcome smooth and pylon-free driving on Fourth Street S.
The tear-up of 16th Street is part of a project to enhance the "streetscapes" around Tropicana Field. The city will put trees, plants, decorative lighting and a new median strip on the road between 11th and Fifth avenues S, according to Michael Connors, the director of city engineering.
The construction work, highlighted by long lines of orange cones, has squeezed traffic to one lane in each direction between Fifth and Ninth avenues S.
The four months of work, which will cost the city $200,000, come as a continuation of the streetscape beautification that occurred on 16th Street from 18th Avenue S to James Avenue and also on Central Avenue from Dr. M.L. King (Ninth) Street to 16th Street in 1998.
In future phases of the 16th Street project, construction workers will continue on their path, eventually making street improvements up to Fifth Avenue N, Connors said.
Work on the median will close a lane in each direction and slow traffic, he said. "That's an inevitable with all these projects that involve digging up the center median."
While the 16th Street work had just begun, Connors said he was pleased with the results of 15 months of work on Fourth Street.
"It looks great," he said. "The project was intended to end some drainage problems that had historically existed in the area, but we were able to couple it with some streetscape work as well."
The $2.65-million project, which had slowed traffic on Fourth Street from Newton Avenue to Fifth Avenue S, was the result of a partnership the city government made with private groups in the Bayboro District.
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