10th Street and 14th Street roundabouts on U.S. 41 both expected to be open to drivers by early April 19

FDOT project began in November 2017

A graphic shows the design of the two roundabouts on U.S. 41. Image courtesy FDOT

Almost two-and-a-half years after the construction began, the U.S. 41 roundabouts at the intersections of 10th and 14th streets are both expected to be open to drivers by the night of April 18.

That is the news from Sarasota City Engineer Alexandrea DavisShaw as of April 7.

During the City Commission workshop the previous day, Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch asked DavisShaw for an update on the projects, which have been overseen by the District One staff of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

As of last week, DavisShaw replied, FDOT’s timeline called for the 10th Street roundabout to open next week; the 14th Street roundabout would follow suit in another week.

However, DavisShaw added, she had not spoken with anyone from FDOT before the April 6 workshop began at 1:30 p.m. Therefore, she continued, she would let the commissioners know if she received further information.

In response to a Sarasota News Leader request for the latest details, DavisShaw explained in an April 7 email that the contractor handling the project, IBT of Miami, “plans to work Thursday night, April 16th, to switch traffic at 10th Street, so on Friday, April 17th, the intersection of US 41 and 10th Street will operate as a roundabout. Then on Saturday night, April 18th, they will make the switch at US 41 and 14th Street.”

A graphic provides more details about the project. Image courtesy FDOT

DavisShaw reminded the commissioners on April 6 that public meetings had been planned before the openings, in an effort to educate drivers about how to navigate the two-lane roundabouts. Because of the restrictions Gov. Ron DeSantis imposed to try to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, DavisShaw added, those meetings had had to be cancelled.

However, she continued, staff is working on a video to try to assist members of the public who will use the roundabouts.

In her April 7 email to the News Leader, DavisShaw reiterated her comments about the educational video, adding that she hoped it would be ready in a few days. She promised to provide a link, after it has been completed. The News Leader will make that available in a regular edition and on its Facebook page after it receives the link.

In his Sept. 29, 2017 newsletter, City Manager Tom Barwin noted that construction of the roundabouts was expected to start that fall, with their completion planned for this year. FDOT reported on its project webpages that the work began in November 2017 and was “scheduled [for completion] in the fall of 2020.”

In his Dec. 15, 2017 newsletter, Barwin remarked on one of the most visible, early steps in the project. He alerted readers to be on the lookout for “noticeable road work along U.S. 41 as FDOT begins removing the median between 10th [Street] and 14th [Street].” That demolition would allow IBT to shift traffic for the roundabout work, he explained.

The total cost of the project is $12.6 million, FDOT says on its webpages dedicated to the initiative. Along with construction of the two roundabouts, the project has included the widening of U.S. 41 between 10th Street and 14th Street for the addition of bike lanes and turn lanes. A 10-foot, shared-use path has been provided on the west side of U.S. 41; a 6-foot sidewalk, on the east side.

Further, FDOT has constructed raised islands for pedestrian refuge and installed LED street lighting, the project webpages say.