FDOT awards City of Sarasota $1,977,000 for roundabout at intersection of Ringling Boulevard and Pine Place

Project to be completed by end of 2025

On a unanimous vote this week, the Sarasota City Commission authorized Mayor Kyle Battie to execute an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) regarding plans for the roundabout at the intersection of Pine Place and Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota.

Items related to the project were part of the commission’s Consent Agendas 1 and 2 on May 13; those agendas typically involve routine business matters.

The FDOT agreement calls for the agency to cover the expense of the structure up to $1,977,000. The construction contract is to be let by May 30, 2023, the agreement says, and the project is to be completed by Dec. 31, 2025.

The Agenda Request Form for the item explained that the funding will come through what is called FDOT’s Local Agency Program, but the criteria for acceptance call for approval of a resolution.

As FDOT explains in a November 2022 document, “The Department is empowered by legislative authority to contract with [local agencies, such as municipalities and counties] to plan, develop, design, acquire right of way, and construct transportation facilities. The Department is the primary recipient of State and Federal funds. The Department awards the funds in the form of grants to subrecipient [local agencies] for transportation project delivery.”

On Jan. 4, 2021, as The Sarasota News Leader reported, the city commissioners seated at that time awarded the design contract to the Kimley-Horn consulting firm in Sarasota. That contract amount was $250,300, city documents noted. The funds came out of the city’s penny sales tax revenue, a staff memo added.

In the aftermath of that vote, Jan Thornburg, the city’s senior communications manager, told the News Leader that no construction schedule had been determined at that point.

The Pine Place intersection with Ringling Boulevard is within the vicinity of both the Sarasota County Administration Center and the U.S. Post Office in downtown Sarasota. Two other roundabouts already have been constructed along the Ringling Boulevard corridor, at the intersections of South Palm and South Pineapple avenues.

Formally, according to the formal project description included in the FDOT documents, the roundabout will encompass 0.20 miles on Ringling Boulevard, from approximately 320 feet to the west and 260 feet to the east of the center of the roundabout, and from 130 feet to the north of Pine Place and 110 feet to the south of Pine Place.

The description further notes that the roundabout will include “a landscaped center island and four adjacent corners, irrigation, drainage and utility adjustments including fiber, new and replacement of light poles within the project limits, crosswalks at the four legs of the roundabout, truck apron and the island approaches, in-road warning lights controlled by automatic activation bollards at the crosswalks, new bus stop including a transit shelter, milling and paving, striping and markings to match the bicycle and pedestrian enhancements to the Ringling Trail.”

The Ringling Trail complete street design includes a protected bicycle lane along part of the corridor through downtown Sarasota. That initiative, which was completed in December 2022, recently won Project of the Year honors from the Florida Chapter of the American Public Works Association.