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Largo Leader
Work continues on Ulmerton Road
FDOT on last two portions of the long-term project
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Photo by JULIANA A. TORRES
Construction on Ulmerton Road from 119th Street to the intersection of Seminole Boulevard is done and all six lanes are open to traffic.
LARGO – With the widening of Ulmerton Road around Largo Mall and the busy Seminole Boulevard intersection completed last month, the Florida Department of Transportation is working on the final two portions of the project.

The roadway starting at 119th Street – just before Ulmerton turns south to meet up with Walsingham Road, and extending until the Seminole Bypass Canal, right before the railroad, was completed Dec. 23. The widening of the road to three lanes in each direction was a $16.9 million project.

The project included additional turn lanes for the two major intersections in the area, namely that of Seminole Boulevard and Ridge Road. Additionally, the road’s traffic poles and signals at those intersections, along with the ones at 101st Street and the Largo Mall entrance, are now hurricane resistant.

Medians also were altered. They were closed complete at Palm Avenue, Block Drive, 10th Street Southwest and the west entrance to Lowe’s. Full median openings were changed to left-turn-only medians at the entrance into Oak Ridge Apartments, the east entrance into Lowe’s, the west entrance into Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department, at 117th Street, at Railroad Avenue and at the Ridge Road west of 113th Street.

Pepper Contracting Services was the state’s contractor for the project, which began in 2011.

Construction moves east

Construction has already begun on the next two miles of the road – from the canal until El Centro/Ranchero Boulevard, a few blocks east of Belcher Road. The Florida Department of Transportation hired Conalvias USA for the $21.5 million job, slated for completion in late 2015.

“The contractor on this project is working on finishing the widening on the south side of the job,” department spokeswoman Kris Carson explained in an email. “When the south side is complete, traffic will be shifted to the south side and then the widening on the north side will start.”

The south side of the road will be completed in a few months, she added. Both sides will each gain an extra lane, making the road six lanes wide and reducing traffic congestion in the area.

The project includes hurricane-resistance upgrades for traffic signals and poles at Starkey Road, Tall Pines Drive, Belcher Road and replacements for the emergency signals at Rosetree Lane.

Eventually, the project will entail median closures at Washington Avenue, Center Avenue, Clay Avenue, Southwind Lane, 90th Road, Fountain Way, 34th Way and Cumberland Drive. Medians will be altered to prevent left turns onto eastbound Ulmerton from Cheryl Road, Coral Way and Monterey Lakes and onto westbound Ulmerton from 93rd Street and Rosetree Plaza.

Construction is scheduled primarily during the day, with additional lane closures permitted between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The final project

The final portion of the widening project is already underway on the east side – from 38th Street, just past the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport, to the on-ramp to Interstate 275. The $20.5 million price tag covers widening Ulmerton Road to six total lanes and widening Roosevelt Boulevard, between 28th Avenue and Ulmerton Road, to three lanes in each direction.

The construction, contracted to Lane Construction Corporation, also includes replacing the Roosevelt Boulevard bridge over Ulmerton.

“The contractor is working on the bridge deck pours on the new bridge,” Carson wrote.

The department estimates that traffic will be switched to the new bridge in either late summer or early fall of this year.

Work also is starting on widening 34th Street, just east of Roosevelt Boulevard, Carson added.

The project includes adding sidewalks to the north side of the road, where there are none, and replacing the sidewalks on the south side, between 34th and 38th streets and between Egret Boulevard and Mercury Insurance.

The medians at this portion of Ulmerton will be altered: closing the opening at 35th Street and changing all the openings at the east end of the road to directional openings.

FDOT advises that detours will be necessary to complete the project, though lane closures will occur mainly at night. The project, which will bring the entire length of Ulmerton Road to three lanes each way, is scheduled to be completed in spring 2016.
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