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Forest Lakes Boulevard Widening and Reconstruction Slated for Fall

The project will extend along Forest Lakes Boulevard from West of Pine Avenue to West of Race Track Road.

According to Project Engineer Erin Lawson, the widening project is necessary to increase road capacity. “The level of service was getting into the ‘D’ range,” she stated. The grade refers to the A through F qualitative measure used to analyze roads based on traffic flow and volume.

Work will begin as early as October and last 30 months. Some road areas will undergo full reconstruction due to an unsuitable soil base. In these areas, the existing road will be excavated and removed to a depth of three feet or more. Soil replacement along with the installation of new underdrains and pipes will help improve drainage. “This will offer a nice, solid foundation that will increase the longevity of the road,” Lawson stated.

Milling and resurfacing will occur on the balance of the road.

The roadway improvements will provide an additional 11-foot lane in each direction, upgrading Forest Lakes Boulevard from a two-lane to a four-lane suburban divided roadway. Plans also call for a five-foot paved shoulder that can be utilized as a bike lane. Some areas will see new sidewalk construction or repairs. The project also encompasses upgrading existing signalized intersections at Pine Avenue and Brooker Creek Boulevard.

According to project plans, existing traffic patterns will be maintained for the duration of construction by shifting lanes to the north side while construction is underway on the south side and vice-versa. Intersection construction will require detours for one direction only and intermittent nighttime-only lane closures will be utilized throughout the project.

Once completed, the new four lane road will inevitably funnel more cars across the Pinellas/Hillsborough line at the intersection of Racetrack Road and Linebaugh Avenue, where the road will once again narrow down to two lanes. When asked about potential plans to widen the section of Linebaugh Avenue between Racetrack Road and Countryway Boulevard, Hillsborough County staff stated, “Linebaugh is planned to be widened to four lanes in the future; however, that is not part of the current ten-year plan.”

Funding for the Forest Lakes Boulevard widening and reconstruction project is under the Penny for Pinellas program, with partial funding from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) through a County Incentive Grant Agreement.

By Karen Ring


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