Manatee, Sarasota officials ask state to study I-75/University Parkway traffic

skennedy@bradenton.comDecember 16, 2013 

MANATEE -- Local officials Monday asked the Florida Department of Transportation to analyze alternatives that might solve severe congestion along the University Parkway-Interstate-75 corridor.

A motion proposed by Manatee County Commission Chairman Larry Bustle passed unanimously during a meeting of the regional transportation planning body, the Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization.

"You can't just look at the intersection of University and I-75 to solve the traffic problem," Bustle said after the meeting.

He noted that intersecting streets, such as Cattlemen Road, will be affected by the opening of the new Mall at University Town Center next year, and by many athletic events slated to occur in the area before 2017.

In 2017, Sarasota's Nathan Benderson Park will host the World Rowing Championship, which is expected to bring tens of thousands of fans, onlookers and athletes to the area, MPO board members noted.

Bustle said he would like FDOT to take a "comprehensive look" at the area's traffic situation to determine cost-feasible projects that might help cure traffic gridlock.

The study area boundaries would be from Lakewood Ranch Boulevard to Honore Avenue, and from 17th Street in Sarasota County to Linger Lodge Road in Manatee, he said.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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