Completion of roundabout traffic pattern at Gulfstream Avenue and U.S. 41 in downtown Sarasota expected by Wednesday, Dec. 21

Motorists advised to stay clear of area between 7 p.m. Dec. 16 and 7 a.m. Dec. 17

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has announced that, by Dec. 21, drivers should be able to negotiate a normal roundabout traffic pattern at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue in downtown Sarasota.

That news is in the department’s latest RoadWatch report, which was issued on Dec. 15.

The traffic pattern should start to go into effect on Sunday, Dec. 18, the report pointed out. As FDOT put it, that means, “Motorists on approach yield to motorists within the roundabout. Vehicles within the roundabout have priority and right of way.”

On its webpage about the project, FDOT said that nighttime paving would begin on Tuesday, Dec. 13, and continue through Thursday, Dec. 15. “The operation will occur on [U.S. 41] between Main Street and Fruitville Road,” where work has been taking place, FDOT’s webpage added.

The traffic was to be switched to the roundabout pattern following that paving, the webpage noted. That process “will require significant lane closures,” the webpage pointed out. “Motorists are advised to seek alternative routes during the night work,” between 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, and 7 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, it added.

“[T]he crossover patterns at Main Street and Sunset Drive will be removed,” it said. To facilitate the traffic pattern switch, the webpage continued, pavement markings, the temporary barrier wall and the traffic separator will be removed, signage will be installed and adjusted, and traffic signal work will take place. “Noise from grinding of existing pavement markings, equipment and truck operation is expected,” the webpage added.

The $8.6-million project began on March 15, 2021. Along with construction of the roundabout, it involved the replacement of underground drainage facilities and the reconfiguration of stormwater retention ponds in an effort to ameliorate flooding that has been occurring in that area of the city during heavy rain events in recent years.

New sidewalks and pedestrian walkways also are part of the initiative.

The December Brief from Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer explained that impacts of Hurricane Ian’s landfall in Lee County delayed the timeline for concluding the project; the undertaking had been expected to wrap up in November.

“Final completion of all related construction” is expected in the spring of 2023, he noted.