Bee Ridge Widening - a few updates

One of Sarasota County's project managers for the Bee Ridge Road widening provided some updates on that project at Friday's meeting of the Bee Ridge Neighborhood Committee.

State to put in Sidewalk

 In a surprise move, the state plans to build a sidewalk on the South side of Bee Ridge from Cattlemen to where the state's portion of Bee Ridge ends -- near the exit ramp from I-75. This project was moved up -- originally it was not expected to happen before 2018, but with this funding, it might be completed before the end of this year. This is great news for those who have had to walk along the roadway, or in the weeds, to get to businesses West of the highway.

State's portion of Bee Ridge begins at the dark area
marked with the yellow pointer.
When the County completes its widening of Bee Ridge, a sidewalk will run along the south side, connecting with the state's sidewalk and providing a continuous walkway from Cattlemen out to the Bee Ridge extension. There is not enough space to build a sidewalk along the state's portion on the north side of Bee Ridge, according to the engineers.

Landscape Details

The Committee also got an update on Landscaping plans for Bee Ridge:

East of Mauna Loa, the County intends to put in a row of trees on the north side of Bee Ridge, another row in the median that will begin just east of the intersection, and more trees and vegetation along the south side of Bee Ridge. Racetrac, which intends to put in a very large gas station on the northeast corner of Bee Ridge and Mauna Loa Blvd., will also be required to put in landscaping, including bushes and trees. The net result: when the trees and bushes grow out, there should be a natural buffer helping shield Lake Sarasota from the lights, exhaust, and noise from the highly trafficked station that will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A selection of grasses, shrubs and trees has been made that will be planted along the sides of the widened road, as well as in the medians and roundabouts. According to the current plan, the only portion of Bee Ridge that will have a wrought iron fence is 1,000 feet along the south side from Eton to Coleridge. It was deemed too costly to have a more extensive fence.

Photos of the road plan, the median, and the selection of plants can be seen by clicking on the image below:

Bee Ridge Landscaping plans as of May 3, 2013

Seven Lanes

When complete, the widened Bee Ridge Rd. will have seven lanes wide at the intersection of Mauna Loa Blvd. Going East, two lanes will be left turns at the light, two will continue straight east, and one will be a right turn into Lake Sarasota. West of the intersection, the north side of Bee Ridge Rd. will indent to provide a bus bay:

Bee Ridge Rd. and Mauna Loa Blvd., West side

Heading West, one lane will turn right into Mauna Loa Blvd. North, two lanes will continue straight, and one lane will be a left turn only into Lake Sarasota. East of the intersection, the south side of the road will indent for a Bus Bay:

Bee Ridge at Mauna Loa, East side

Construction for the road widening is expected to begin towards the end of this year.

If you have questions or comments, please leave them in the comments area below, or send them to -- we'll pass them along to the project managers. For the record, the managers of the Bee Ridge Road have maintained a high level of cooperation and communication with the neighborhoods along Bee Ridge Rd.


Anonymous said…
Great job keeping us all updated on the progress of this project. The Community applauds your volutary efforts to do so! cs
Anonymous said…
It appears no thought has been given to the existing east bound off ramp from I-75 where it merges into bee ridge road. this has been a mess since its inception. there must be an accident a week at this location.are there any considerations for extending the east bound merging lane? Things are really going to change!! It seems so peaceful and less harried now, particularly at night, as you travel east. with the proposed road widening and new gas station and perhaps new motel, resteraunt , bank and God knows what else at that intersection, rural, as we know it will cease to exsist . ah,... progress
I'll try to get an answer for you about the eastbound ramp off of the highway.

And yes, people will miss that quiet bit of nature opposite our entrance. The sleazy story of how this change came about has yet to be told.
A project manager for the County responded to the question about the off ramp from I-75 onto Bee Ridge. He wrote:

HI, As we previously mentioned the Bee Ridge plans and design will not reach the vicinity of the Ramp or the merge since that area lies within FDOT’s limited access right of way. The limits of Bee Ridge are approx. 600ft west of the Mauna Loa intersection. You might want to raise those concerns with FDOT..

Jeff Redding said…
Bee Ridge road needs to be accessible to everyone. There is no mention of bicycle lanes. Will a bicycle lane be put on Bee Ridge when it is widened? The street lamp posts on Bee Ridge (south side) between Cattlemen and MacIntosh are in the middle of the sidewalk and not ada compliant. The county or FDOT needs to relocate the lamp posts off the sidewalk or at least to the edge of the sidewalk. Pedestrians and disabled people have a right to travel without having the sidewalk blocked by a street lamp post. Google "Sarasota Bee Ridge sidewalk" to find the abc news story. Please contact me if you would like to help make Bee Ridge accessible to disabled people. Thank you. Jeff Redding, (disabled veteran) 941-227-6965,
Anonymous said…
I have copied my earlier post about the eastbound merging onto bee ridge road to the fdot contact. Hopefully I will get a response and post the result.
If you do receive a response, please let us know. You can forward it to

thank you.
Anonymous said…
I'm personally super excited that we are getting a gas station on our side of the interstate. On the evenings when I just want to get home after work and don't feel like stopping to get gas... inevitably, the next morning I forget to leave 15 minutes early to get gas - which is honestly the amount of time it usually adds to my commute when I have to venture over to the other side of I-75 before work.

As for the eye-sore of a sign in my front yard letting people know there is road construction ahead... I am not so happy about that. I think we all know by now that they are working on the road. I DO NOT want this sign in my yard... and for what?? 2 YEARS? No thank you! Who is the appropriate person to address this situation?
You can call the County at 861-5000 and they'll direct you to the proper office, or if you'd like, share your email with us at and we'll see what we can do. We'll need your street address as well. Thanks.

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