Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bee Ridge Road Public Hearing: Update


On Wed., Oct. 28, at 1 p.m., the Sarasota County Commission will hold a public hearing concerning plans for Bee Ridge Rd. east of I-75. Engineers will explain plans and probably answer questions, and presumably public comment will be invited. The hearing will be in the Commission chambers on Ringling Blvd. For more background on Bee Ridge projects, click here.

Important update from the Bee Ridge Neighborhoods Committee: The Public Hearing is still at 1 pm, but the actual presentation from the Engineers has been moved to 4:30 pm on Wed. Oct. 28:
County Staff has met with Commissioners earlier this week to secure their input and questions in preparation for the Wednesday, Oct 28 Commissioner meeting. This meeting will begin at 4.30 PM. Bee Ridge Road Construction will be the third agenda item. The County Administration Building is located downtown on Ringling Boulevard, across from the Post Office, just east of Orange Avenue. Come early to secure parking, located behind the building at Morrill Street. All BRNC members should attend. We also encourage you to invite a few of your Association Members who would support Bee Ridge Road construction.
Reason for the widening

Bee Ridge is at a level of service of F between Mauna Loa and Bent Tree, and traffic will only get worse as development east of I-75 increases. For example, an adult congregate living facility is planned on the Ansin property opposite Mauna Loa. It would generate an estimated 765 trips daily.

What's the difference in the plans?

Essentially, there are two ways to go (with a few minor variants). One plan calls for for a standard four-lane road from Mauna Loa out to Bent Tree (or to Iona). The second approach would allow for four lanes with much more buffering along the way, including ponds, meandering sidewalks, bio-swales and more, as far as Bent Tree. The second plan would cost more, because it entails buying right of way - acquiring a total of 50 properties on the south side of Bee Ridge Road - most of which are in Lake Sarasota. This plan would also enable the design to save nearly 300 healthy valuable trees.

Regardless of which plan, construction would not begin before 2014.

Costs:

Standard four-lane to Bent Tree: $25 million (to Iona, $31 million).

Full buffered four-lane to Bent Tree: $35.5 million (to Iona, $41.5 million).

The County Commission could decide on this matter on Wednesday, according to Joe O'Hara of the Bee Ridge Neighborhood Committee, who urges residents to come to the County Commission chambers (1660 Ringling Blvd.) on Wednesday to voice their support for the buffered option to Bent Tree ($35.5 million). For more information, contact the Committee.

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