Roundabout project at Orange Avenue and Ringling Boulevard expected to begin after July 4

City Commission approves agreement with FDOT for the construction expense

An aerial view shows the intersection of Orange Avenue and Ringling Boulevard. Image from Google Maps

Construction of the City of Sarasota’s next roundabout — at the intersection of Orange Avenue and Ringling Boulevard — is scheduled to begin after July 4, thanks to a funding agreement the City Commission approved this week with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

The state is providing $881,523 for the project, City Manager Tom Barwin pointed out during the board’s regular meeting on April 17.

The commissioners unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Willie Shaw to sign the agreement with FDOT. First, though, Commissioner Liz Alpert had a question for City Engineer Alexandrea DavisShaw.

She knew the roundabout had been planned for some time, Alpert said, but “it just seems like other ones are more important.” Therefore, she wanted to know why staff was proceeding with this one.

The Orange Avenue roundabout is being funded under the aegis of a congestion management program and through the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization, DavisShaw replied.

“We put in the request about seven years ago,” she continued. At that time, a local government was limited to seeking less than $1 million for a congestion management project, DavisShaw added, and construction estimates for most of the city’s planned roundabouts exceeded that amount. The Orange Avenue project was the next on the list that FDOT could help fund under that program, she said.

“That answers that question,” Alpert responded.

Alpert made the motion to approve the resolution, and Vice Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie seconded it.

The funding also covers the landscaping and roadway lighting for the project, according to the documents provided to the commissioners.

In response to a question from The Sarasota News Leader about how long the work on the roundabout is expected to take, Jan Thornburg, the senior communications manager for the city, replied in an April 20 email, “The bulk of the construction will take approximately 3 months (90-100 days). The overall project should be completed in approximately 4 months (120 days).” However, Thornburg noted, “The project has not gone out to bid yet.”