New roundabout to be built on Honore Avenue at Ashton Road intersection

Project expected to get underway in January

An aerial map shows the intersection of Honore Avenue and Ashton Road. Image from Google Maps

With no comments, the Sarasota County Commission has approved construction of yet another roundabout on Honore Avenue — this one, at the intersection of Ashton Road.

On a Dec. 11 motion by Commissioner Alan Maio, seconded by Commissioner Michael Moran, the board voted unanimously to award the construction contract to Westra Construction Corp. of Palmetto for $2,389,518.16.

A staff memo provided to the commissioners in advance of the meeting said Westra would have 330 days to complete the project, with work slated to begin in January 2019.

The memo added that electronic signs in the project area will notify the public of the upcoming work at least two weeks before it begins.

Funding for the construction will come from mobility fees ($600,000), Central County road impact fees ($640,000) and sales tax revenue allocated to traffic improvements ($1,049,518.16), the memo explained.

Westra was one of four companies to bid on the project, based on a Procurement Department document included in the commission packet for the Dec. 11 meeting. The highest bid was from Frederick Derr and Co. of Sarasota: $2,822,499.71.

The firm of H.S. Lochner of Tampa won the contract for construction engineering and inspection services for the project, at a cost of $297,231.46. The commission also approved that agreement in its Dec. 11 vote.

The staff memo explained that Lochner’s employees will “ensure construction is completed in accordance with the plans and specifications.”

The items were listed on the Dec. 11 agenda with the designation that the board could vote without a formal presentation. No commissioner asked for a staff report that morning.

Additionally, no member of the public had signed up to speak on the topic, Chair Nancy Detert indicated.

A Sarasota County staff map shows the project location. Image courtesy Sarasota County

The Dec. 11 memo explained that members of the Capital Projects staff within the Public Works Department had undertaken a roundabout analysis at the Honore/Ashton intersection. The conclusion was that a roundabout “would provide an acceptable level-of-service at the intersection and would provide for a significant increase in traffic volume with minimal delay and a decreased crash rate.”

The memo added, “The design included provisions for minimizing costs associated with future expansion of the roundabout.”

The first public meeting conducted about the proposed project was held on May 10, 2012, the memo noted. A second session was held on April 4, 2017, with an updated design available.

Then, on June 29, 2017, the memo continues, staff met with representatives of the three schools located on Ashton Road, after the principals of those schools requested a presentation for faculty members.

Those schools are Sarasota Middle, Ashton Elementary and New Gate School.

“It was determined that a roundabout [at Honore/Ashton] would provide a more pedestrian friendly intersection for school children and other pedestrians in the area,” the memo said.

Yet another meeting was conducted on Sept. 28, 2017, at school leaders’ request, so parents, other family members and school employees could see the latest proposed design, the memo noted.