The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District Seven has completed a Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Re-evaluation Study along a portion of US 19 in Pinellas County. This PD&E Re-evaluation Study evaluated the need for improvements along US 19 (SR 55) from 66th Avenue North to SR 690 / 118th Avenue North in Pinellas Park, Florida, a distance of approximately 3.8 miles.
The proposed improvements consist of widening the existing 6-lane roadway to include one auxiliary lane in one or both directions. The three through lanes and the auxiliary lanes will each be 11 feet wide. This section also includes 7-foot buffered bicycle lanes and 6-foot sidewalks. The Gandy Boulevard/Park Boulevard interchange will be reconstructed to include dual left-turn lanes on each approach and dual right-turn lanes on the westbound approach. The existing 4-lane Gandy/Park Boulevard bridge will be demolished and replaced with a new 6-lane bridge. One additional auxiliary lane will be constructed in the westbound direction along Park Boulevard between 40th Street North and 43rd Street North. The intersection of Gateway Centre Boulevard will be converted to a signalized intersection with additional turn lanes on the approaches to the intersection. US 19 will require approximately 5.3 acres of additional right of way to construct these roadway improvements and associated stormwater management facilities. Approximately 16 business relocations and five residential relocations will also be required.
Short Term Improvements
Funding constraints require the improvements detailed earlier to be implemented in phases. A smaller scale project is being implemented to construct the following short term improvements:
- Widen US 19 from south of 70th Avenue North to 80th Avenue North to accommodate additional turn lanes and bicycle lanes.
- The Gandy/Park Boulevard interchange is upgraded to include dual left turn lanes on each roadway and ramp approach and dual right turn lanes on the westbound ramp approach.
- A future project will include construction of the auxiliary lanes along US 19 and Park Boulevard, and the replacement of the bridge over US 19.
- For more design information, please refer to the following site: http://www.fdottampabay.com/project/425/435914-2-52-01
This purpose of this project is to improve operations on US 19/SR 55 from 66th Avenue North to SR 690/118th Avenue North/Bryan Dairy Road in Pinellas County. This project looked at improvements to US 19/SR 55 and the US 19/SR 55 and Gandy Boulevard interchange in Pinellas County.
This project is needed to better accommodate projected future roadway volumes, including the large number of commuters traveling within the corridor. Additionally, US 19/SR 55 serves the western edge of the Gateway Business District, which is a large employment and activity center within Pinellas County. The needs for the project are based on the following criteria:
The segment of US 19/SR 55 from 66th Avenue North to south of 49th Street North was evaluated as an interrupted flow facility. From 66th Avenue North to Gandy Boulevard, US 19/SR 55 is operating at a level of service (LOS) F in 2016 with an annual average daily traffic (AADT) of 59,000. Between Gandy Boulevard and 49th Street North, US 19/SR 55 has an AADT of 69,000 and is currently operating at LOS F. This segment of US 19/SR 55 from south of 49th Street North to 118th Avenue North was evaluated as an uninterrupted flow facility and is currently operating at an acceptable LOS (LOS F) in 2016 from south of 49th Street North to 118th Avenue North with an AADT of 76,000. The LOS standard is D.
The projected future 2045 LOS is F in 2016 between 66th Avenue North and 118th Avenue North with a projected AADT from Version 8.0 of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Model (TBRPM) between 62,000 and 87,000 vehicles. The LOS standard is LOS D.
US 19/SR 55 serves as the major north-south roadway in Pinellas County connecting the two largest cities in Pinellas County, Clearwater and St. Petersburg. In addition to connecting those two cities, US 19/SR 55 serves the smaller cities of Pinellas Park, Largo, and Tarpon Springs in Pinellas County. US 19/SR 55 also connects Pinellas County to Pasco County to the north and along with I-275 and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, connects Pinellas County with Manatee County to the south. US 19/SR 55 intersects Gandy Boulevard and 118th Avenue North, both of which link US 19/SR 55 with I-275. Additionally, US 19/SR 55 serves the western edge of the Gateway activity and employment center and is within close proximity of St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport.
118th Avenue North, at the northern end of the project study area, crosses US 19/SR 55 and is in the process of being upgraded to a controlled access facility. When the 118th Avenue North project is complete, there will be a controlled access facility connecting US 19 to I-275.
SR 694/Gandy Boulevard intersects US 19/SR 55 near the southern end of the project study area. SR 694/Gandy Boulevard is an arterial roadway that connects US 19/SR 55 to the beaches on the west to I-275 and the Gandy Bridge to the east, both of which are commuter routes between Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.
Social Demands or Economic Development
The University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) projects that Pinellas County, with a current estimated 2016 population of 954,569, is projected to grow to 982,175 by 2040 with medium population growth, which is an increase of approximately 2.9%. As the population increases, roadway volumes are projected to increase as well.
Additionally, the US Census (County to County Community Flows – ACS 2009-2013) shows that the majority of residents who work in Pinellas County also reside within Pinellas County. The US Census reports that 348,589 residents of Pinellas County commute to jobs within Pinellas County. In addition, the US Census states that 42,358 Pinellas County residents commute to Hillsborough County for employment while 32,626 commute from Hillsborough County to Pinellas County. Employment is projected to grow from 452,802 to 507,884 (a 12.2% increase) between 2016 and 2024.
The portion of the project corridor south of 49th Street North is listed as a “Constrained Road” in the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). The project corridor is designated as a Phase 1 ITS corridor.
The Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Improvement Program (Fiscal Year 2016/2017-2020/2021) lists the portion of the project corridor from SR 694/Gandy Boulevard to 49th Street North as a resurfacing project (431496-1) with construction completed in FY 2016/17. The project corridor from 70th Avenue North to SR 690/118th Avenue North is listed as an interchange improvements project in FY 2017/2018.
This PD&E study is included in Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT’s) Adopted Five Year Work Program for Fiscal Years (FY) 2017-2021 for District 7 (Item No. 435914-1); the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study is currently funded for $1,011,000. The 2040 Pinellas County LRTP indicates that the project corridor south of 49th Street North, and portions of the corridor north of 49th Street North, are forecasted to be areas of significant congestion.
This is consistent with the Pinellas County Comprehensive Plan.
St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport is an intermodal facility located just north of the project corridor. Some traffic to and from the airport utilizes this portion of US 19/SR 55.
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is the transit service provider for Pinellas County. The Pinellas Park Transit Center is located on 66th Avenue North just west of US 19 on the south side of the Shoppes at Park Place mall.
Routes 11, 34, 444, 52, 74, 75 and 97 use this Center. Route 58 travels east west on Bryan Dairy Road under US 19, Routes 97 and 52 travel north and south along 49th Street North and under US 19/SR 55, and Route 74 travels on US 19 between 66th Avenue North and 74th Avenue North.
Sidewalks are found along this section of US 19/SR 55 from 66th Avenue North to south of 49th Street North. There are no sidewalks north of 49th Street North. Designated bicycle lane facilities are not located on US 19/SR 55 within the study area; however, there are intermittent areas with paved shoulders that could be used by bicyclists.
Crash data from 2010-2014 shows a safety ratio lower than the statewide average for this portion of US 19/SR 55.
US 19/SR 55 has been designated by the Florida Division of Emergency Management as a hurricane evacuation route. US 19/SR 55 along with I-275, US 92 and SR 60 are the main routes leading out of Pinellas County and all four of these routes would be utilized during a hurricane evacuation.