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Forest Lakes Boulevard Widening and Reconstruction Update

The county has entered into an agreement with Pepper Contracting Services, Inc. and construction is slated to begin in the first or second week of February.

The project will extend along Forest Lakes Boulevard from west of Pine Avenue to west of Race Track Road in the City of Oldsmar. According to Project Engineer Erin Lawson, the widening project is necessary to increase the capacity of the road. “The level of service was getting into the ‘D’ range,” she stated, referring to the qualitative measure used to analyze roadways and intersections by categorizing traffic flow and assigning quality levels of traffic on a grading scale from A to F based on performance measures like vehicle speed, density and congestion. 

Projected construction duration is 30 months. The extensive timeframe is due to the fact that certain areas of the road will undergo full roadway reconstruction due to unsuitable soils underneath the existing roadway. In these areas, project plans call for the existing road to 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 and settlement concerns throughout the project limits. “This will offer a nice, solid foundation that will increase the longevity of the road,” Lawson stated.

Milling and resurfacing of the existing roadway will occur in locations that do not need to be completely reconstructed.

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. In addition to the added lanes, plans call for a five-foot paved shoulder that can be utilized as a bike lane. In areas of full reconstruction, medians and traffic separators will be reconstructed. Certain areas will see new sidewalk construction, while areas with damaged sidewalk will be reconstructed. The project will also upgrade existing signalized intersections at Pine Avenue and Brooker Creek Boulevard.

Existing traffic patterns will be maintained for the duration of construction by shifting to an undivided condition on the south side while construction is underway on the north side and vice-versa for south side construction. During the initial phase of construction temporary pavement will be added to the south side so that both east- and westbound traffic will be shifted to the south side for the north side widening and construction work to be completed.

Intersection construction will require detours for one direction only and the contractor will utilize intermittent nighttime-only lane closures throughout construction.

Once completed, the new four lane road will inevitably funnel more cars across the Pinellas/Hillsborough line at the intersection of Race Track Road and Linebaugh Avenue, where the road will once again narrow down to two lanes between Race Track and Countryway Boulevard. When asked about potential plans to widen that section of Linebaugh Avenue, Hillsborough County staff stated, “Linebaugh is planned to be widened to four lanes in the future; however, that is not part of the current 10-year plan.”

Countryway Boulevard Work Begins

The reconstruction and repaving of Countryway Boulevard between Linebaugh Avenue and Race Track Road began in mid-January and will continue through the end of March. Construction will run Monday through Friday during the day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will include some sidewalk improvements. Due to expected lane closures, commuters should consider alternate rush hour routes through March.
Residents with any concerns or questions about the project can contact the Public Works Customer Service at 635-5400.

By Karen Ring

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