Railroad crossing replacement on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Sarasota to be part of county resurfacing initiative starting this month

Seminole Gulf Railway charging county about $181,000 for crossing work

(Editor’s note: This article was updated on the afternoon of April 29 to provide more detailed information about the location of the project.)

A graphic shows the location of the Seminole Gulf Railway crossing on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Image courtesy Sarasota County

On a unanimous vote this week, the Sarasota County Commission authorized County Administrator Jonathan Lewis to proceed with paying the Seminole Gulf Railway $180,895 to replace the crossing on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Sarasota.

The initiative is part of the work outlined under terms of a $4.8-million road resurfacing contract the County Commission approved on April 9. The projects covered by that contract are set to begin this month, a county staff memo said, and to be substantially completed by the end of September, “weather permitting.”

Funding for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way railroad crossing work is available out of sales tax revenue allocated to county railroad crossing initiatives that are part of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP), the April 23 memo noted. The project will take place near the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Leonard Reid Avenue, east of U.S. 301, Carolyn Eastwood, director of the county’s Capital Projects Division, told The Sarasota News Leader.

The approach to the crossing will be milled and resurfaced, and the sidewalk will be replaced after the crossing work has been finished, the staff memo said.

A letter from Seminole Gulf notes that the $180,895 quote it gave the county for the crossing work “is dependent on 100% Road and Sidewalk Closure for the duration of the project.”

The railway company will handle the work “between the rails of each crossing and for two feet outside of the rails of the crossing, exclusive of paving,” Seminole Gulf’s March 6 letter points out.

“The County shall be responsible for all paving and road markings; the removal and disposal of old asphalt material, and other roadway surface work, exclusive of the interface material and the rail elements,” the letter adds.
The county also will be responsible for efforts to maintain traffic flow in the area, including the road closures and detours, the letter points out.

The $4,814,860.84 road resurfacing bid — which the County Commission unanimously approved on its April 9 Consent Agenda — went to Preferred Materials of Nokomis. The company will pave a total 28.44 miles in various parts of the county.

Additionally, the contract includes intersection modifications on Paramount Drive, the resurfacing of interior roads and parking lots at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota, and drainage improvements along part of Kingston Boulevard in the Gulf Gate East subdivision.

A staff memo prepared in advance of the April 9 meeting pointed out, “Prior to construction, mailers will be sent to individual properties adjacent to the work, notifying them of the upcoming resurfacing and projected schedules. The general public will be notified by variable message signs of construction at least two weeks prior to the start of work on Collector/Arterial roadways only. In addition, Preferred Materials, Inc. (Preferred) will place door hangers on each residence and/or business adjacent to the work three to five days in advance of construction activities. “

County staff further noted that 51.7 jobs would be created for the resurfacing projects, with a total compensation of $1,973,810.

These are all of the road segments slated for paving, starting this month. Image courtesy Sarasota County