FDOT’s Bee Ridge Road project necessitating lane closures

Two-year construction contract includes pedestrian refuge islands and drainage improvements

A graphic shows the project area. Image courtesy FDOT
A graphic shows the project area. Image courtesy FDOT

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will be reducing Bee Ridge Road from six to four lanes as it works to improve drainage in a four-mile project from Siesta Drive east to Dunn Drive, an FDOT spokesman informed the Sarasota County Commission and county staff this week.

Robin Stublen provided the details in a Jan. 19 email that The Sarasota News Leader obtained.

“We are committed to making temporary access entries for businesses when disruption occurs,” Stublen pointed out, noting the project began Jan. 18

The $17 million construction contract calls for the work to take about two years, he continued. The contract includes an incentive of $10,000 per day, up to 75 days, if the project is completed ahead of schedule, he added. A disincentive of $10,000 per day also is part of the contract, he added.

The work entails removing old asphalt and resurfacing the roadway, reconstructing sidewalks and installing new signalization in some areas, as well as improving drainage.

Refuge islands are designed to make it safer for pedestrians to cross busy roads. Image courtesy FDOT
Refuge islands are designed to make it safer for pedestrians to cross busy roads. Image courtesy FDOT

The project also includes construction of 11 pedestrian refuge islands on Bee Ridge Road between U.S. 41 and Dunn Drive, Stublen pointed out. Those islands “provide a safe space for pedestrians to stop before crossing the remaining portion of the roadway while increasing the visibility of pedestrians to motorists,” says a flyer FDOT prepared about the plans.

Bee Ridge Road is a former Sarasota County road whose ownership FDOT assumed years ago, Stublen noted. “Over the past, several years there have been drainage issues within the project limits.”

Additionally, he pointed out, as FDOT design engineers performed site visits, “they noticed major cracking of sidewalks and driveways. Closer video inspections, he continued, revealed shifting of the drainage pipes, creating depressions.

Prior to an FDOT public hearing in May 2014, Stublen wrote,

two design engineers walked the project limits, handing out flyers and discussing the plans with representatives of local businesses.

FDOT also hold a preconstruction meeting on Jan. 5 to inform the public of the upcoming project, Stublen added; 63 people attended it. Prior to that session, department staff mailed approximately 900 postcards to residents and businesses within the project limits, he wrote in the email. “We made an additional 192 phone calls to businesses within the project limits.”

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