The Florida Department of Transportation recently announced it will be milling and resurfacing two miles of roadway on U.S. 41 between Edwards Drive and Magellan Drive, near Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. The project, which is estimated to cost $11.3 million, includes “replacing a two-way, turn lane intersection with a raised, 23-foot-wide median” in an effort to improve road and driver safety after several deadly crashes have occured over the last couple years. In 2022 alone, there have already been several fatal accidents involving pedestrians and cars on U.S. 41. Just this week, there have been two deadly crashes.
The project will affect the University of South Florida Sarasota/Manatee campus, the airport, New College of Florida and The Ringling. Intersections on Tallevast Road, Pearl Avenue, Whitfield Avenue and Montgomery Avenue will be affected as well, with a median set to replace the “dual left center lane” at these convergences.
A public meeting was held Thursday at the USF campus to present information and obtain input on the design. During the meeting, visual aids were shown and attendees could offer comments on the exhibit and design.
"There are no construction schedules for this project, nor will the will there be until public opinion is gathered and processed and final plans are made and submitted,” says Florida Department of Transportation spokesperson Andy Orrell. “Essentially, the project doesn’t exist until it is approved."
The anticipated completion date is set for sometime in early 2024. Before then, residents can expect to see U.S. 41 still open, with some lane closures, possible delays and overnight work. However, access to businesses and residences will be maintained, as well as pedestrian crossing and traffic separators.
The other main change drivers can anticipate is a reduction in the speed limit. Currently, the posted speed limit is 50 miles per hour, but will be changed to 45 miles per hour upon project completion.
Even if you missed the public meeting, residents are still encouraged to participate in this proposal. Comments received by or postmarked to the department's project manager by June 4 will be included in the public record. Contact Kara Davis, project manager, at (863) 519-2369 or [email protected] for more information.