Joe O'Hara and Commissioner Charles Hines (seated)
|Dignitaries and Citizens Dig In|
Laughter, speeches and cookies made today's groundbreaking for the widening of Bee Ridge Road an enjoyable moment. The road project, which is expected to take two years to complete, will transform Bee Ridge Road East of I-75 into a gateway to the East.
The road will be widened to four lanes up to Laurel Oaks/Bent Tree. It will have a planted median, bio-swales, sidewalks, bike paths, four roundabouts and buffering -- some 12,000 trees, bushes and plants will be put in with drip irrigation. The project began with a proposal that came from the communities of Bee Ridge Road. Joe O'Hara initially approached Sarasota county officials in 2002, and formed the Bee Ridge Neighborhoods Committee to work with the County to work on every aspect of the project to make sure that in the end -- after the dust settles -- it will add beauty, value to the communities along Bee Ridge, and be neighborhood friendly in design, safety, and ease of use. For example, the SCAT bus route will likely be extended to Iona Rd., and new bus stops will be covered to shield commuters from sun and rain.
Sarasota County will have a regularly updated web page with updates about any changes in the road conditions: lane closures, work progress, and any special information.
The road engineers are CDM Smith, and the construction will be performed by Westra Construction of Palmetto. The current plan will move in segments from Mauna Loa Blvd. toward Iona Rd., and calls for the road to have two lanes open most of the time. The outer lanes will be built first, then the inner lanes and median. There will be months of utilities being installed, and old utilities being removed. FPL light poles, Verizon cables, water lines, drainage lines, etc. will have to be relocated before any pavement goes in.
Click on this image below for a larger size -- it shows the segments of the work moving from left (West) to right (East) in sequence from beginning to conclusion over a span of 2 years.
|Segments of work plan for Bee Ridge Road|