Public reminded about safety with school starting Aug. 20

City warning about continued closure of part of Osprey Avenue

Classes will begin Aug. 20 for all Sarasota County Public Schools, including Sarasota High on School Avenue. Photo by Norman Schimmel

With the Sarasota County Public Schools starting the 2012-13 school year on Monday, Aug. 20, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is reminding motorists to use extra caution and obey speed limits, particularly in school zones.

Many students walk or ride bicycles to school or to the bus stop, a news release points out. This activity may be new to some children or they may be unfamiliar with the roads in a new neighborhood. Drivers should always be vigilant and never allow distractions to take their eyes off the road, the news release warns.

Motorists must stop for all school buses when the bus stop sign is out and lights are flashing. This is true even if the bus is on the opposite side of the street, unless a median more than 4 feet wide divides the road, Sheriff’s Officials point out.

Deputies will strictly enforce all traffic laws near schools, giving citations that carry greater fines than regular speeding infractions, the release warns. Current fines in school zones follow:

  • 1-9 miles over the posted limit: $156
  • 10-14 miles over the posted limit: $306
  • 15-19 miles over the posted limit: $406
  • 20-29 miles over the posted limit: $456
  • 30+ miles over the posted limit: mandatory court appearance
  • Failure to stop for a school bus: $271

Passing a school bus on the exit side also results in a mandatory court appearance.

The City of Sarasota is warning motorists and parents about the continued partial closure of Osprey Avenue for a major capital improvement project.

Northbound Osprey Avenue from Bahia Vista Street to Mound Street will remain temporarily closed while a new lift station and sanitary sewer collection system are being constructed. The latest city projection calls for the road to reopen in mid-December.

Motorists should follow the detour signs and use U.S. 41, city staff says. Osprey Avenue remains open to local traffic only, a city news release points out.

The project has been delayed because of technical issues encountered in the execution of the microtunneling work required to install the new 36-inch gravity sewer system, the news release says. City staff is working collaboratively with the contractor, the design consultant and an impartial microtunneling consultant to address and resolve the issues associated with the microtunneling component of the project, the release adds.

City staff continues to stay in contact with residents, business owners and other stakeholders in the Osprey Avenue construction area, providing updates on the project timeline, coordinating neighborhood traffic patterns and answering questions, the news release says. “Stakeholders are receiving regular project updates via email,” it adds.

To register for project notifications and to see a map of the construction area, visit Updates also may be received via Twitter @CityofSarasota.

Finally, Sarasota County officials are urging motorists to take extra precautions when traveling through streets where sidewalks and other improvements are being constructed near Phillippi Shores Elementary School, which is located on Proctor Road at South Tamiami Trail.

Placement of new sidewalks, driveways and drainage structures along sections of Mill Terrace, Shade Avenue, Palm Terrace, Fiesta Drive and School Avenue are expected to continue for several weeks, a county news release says.

According to Florida Department of Transportation officials, drivers should give themselves a little extra time in the morning to get children to school and to get themselves to work in those areas. Construction activities may reduce traffic from two lanes to one lane at times, the news release notes.

Motorists also should watch for construction vehicles entering and exiting the construction zones.

The project in the Phillippi Shores neighborhood is expected to be completed in the fall, the news release says.

For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000, or visit