Mini roundabout installation set for June 12; more repaving to kick in after current project is complete
By John Morton
On Siesta Key, construction cones will continue to dominate the roadways both this fall and into next year.
As FDOT’s current 250-day, $3.6 million repaving of 1.65 miles along Midnight Pass Road (between Stickney Point Road and Shadow Lawn Way) continues, Sarasota County has its sights on extending the repaving endeavor starting this fall on many of the island’s back roads near the Village, covering 26 lane miles and costing an estimated $9 million, according to Spencer Anderson, the county’s public works director. Two main drags that will see work are Beach Road and Higel Avenue.
The bumpy northbound lane of Beach Road will receive more than repaving, Anderson said, and will be excavated to determine and possibly remove the cause of the uneven stretch of roadway.
But first, June 12 is the start date for a separate project – the installation of a three-leg mini roundabout at the three-way intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Higel Avenue.
“This is a challenging intersection — we’ve had a lot of complaints about it,” said Anderson of the troublesome spot where traffic stops on Ocean but not Higel, coupled with a sharp curve that is nearly 90 degrees. “This seems like a natural place for a roundabout.”
That curve, which is a common scene for accidents, will be smoothed out during the project, Anderson added.
Installation of the temporary roundabout will take about two weeks, and it will be part of a pilot project that features other traffic-softening measures in the area such as signage, markings, and speed cushions. Eventually, the roundabout could be left in place, removed, or bolstered with other elements to give it a more permanent feel. Made of recycled materials, the roundabout can withstand the force of semitrucks traveling over it – a scenario that would occasionally be needed in that tight intersection, Anderson said.
Meanwhile, the large $2.9 million roundabout planned for the intersection of Midnight Pass Road and Beach Road, near Fire Station 13, remains slated for the spring or summer of 2024 once tourist season ends and will have a seven-month completion goal. It will not cause any detours, Anderson has said, with at least a single lane of traffic available during its construction. It will feature a variety of designs to improve flow and safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, county officials have said.