Means start of highly anticipated roundabout near public beach is likely pushed back until December of 2023
By John Morton
Recently, a Florida Department of Transportation-approved road project for Midnight Pass Road in the middle of tourist season commenced on Siesta Key’s main drag. There was no public notice by the county – which oversees the road — of the initiative, according to Bob Luckner of the Siesta Key Association. Nonetheless, as of Dec. 4, island residents began dealing with a projected 250 days of work that will include temporary lane closures of one to one-and-a-half lanes. They will be monitored for alternating traffic flow by flagmen.
Luckner learned of the $3.6 million project through his connection to FDOT officials, he said. He also said he didn’t believe that part of the Key needed repaving – pointing to parts of Beach Road being in more need — but the project is on the books. Message boards notifying residents of the project did not appear, near the public beach, until late November.
The repaving project will likely push the start of the approved roundabout project at the intersection of Midnight Pass Road and Beach Road back to December of 2023 at the earliest, Luckner added. The resurfacing was originally slated to take place in conjunction with the roundabout project, but the county has since taken over that massive roundabout initiative.
The 1.635 miles of repaving work will take place between the Midnight Pass Road and Stickney Point Road intersection and Shadow Lawn Way, which intersects with Midnight Pass Road at the entrance to the Siesta Isles neighborhood. It will involve mostly resurfacing, but will also feature the smoothing of sidewalks, the widening of shoulders and turn lanes, and possibly some drainage-related work near the flood-prone area near the former site of the Wells Fargo bank at 5810 Midnight Pass Rd., Luckner said.
AJAX Paving Industries of Venice will do the work.
“Not only will tourist season make this difficult on residents, but consider the idea of the sand being hauled to Turtle Beach (at the south end, see related story on Page 1) and the possibility of the new hotels beginning construction — depending on the outcome of lawsuits — and you’ve got most of the island” in potential gridlock, Luckner added.