LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Laurie Fox has been a resident of Lakewood Ranch since 2001, but the Coldwell Banker sales associate is growing increasingly concerned about the deteriorating road conditions near her home in the Glades section of Summerfield.
A portion of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, a public road, just south of State Road 70 is in disrepair and has a rougher surface than nearby roads. Fox said the road needs to be resurfaced, and the potholes that have cropped up around the first traffic light leading into the community need to be filled. Without that, Fox said, the noise volume is out of control and she fears for the value of her home and others in the neighborhood.
"When I'm out on my lanai, it sounds just like you're sitting on State Road 70. The road noise really travels, especially on the lake near my home," Fox told District 1 supervisors during a meeting Tuesday at Town Hall.
Fox's concern about the road condition and its aftereffects was echoed by long-time Summerfield resident and District 1 assistant sec
retary Phyllis Troy, a Lakewood Ranch pioneer who fought Manatee County years ago and succeeded in getting a traffic light installed near the entrance to the community off Lakewood Ranch Boulevard -- a necessity, she says, since children use the traffic light to cross the street on their way to and from school each day.
"Lakewood Ranch Boulevard is taking a beating in this area, especially with all the potholes, and it's getting worse by the minute," Troy said. "I've complained about it for months, and I'm tired of hearing it's a budget issue and the county is too busy."
Operations at Lakewood Ranch determined additional landscaping won't make a significant difference in easing the noise problem, and mention of building a noise-buffer wall was readily dismissed.
To make matters worse, few people are adhering to the 35-mph speed limit, supervisors said, and safety is now a growing concern to residents along with road and noise problems. District 1 Chairwoman June Stroup has suggested placing a portable speed limit sign from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office to warn motorists who are violating the law.
"The road is really atrocious, so we need to get as many of our friends together calling the sheriff's office," District 1 vice chairman Alan Roth suggested.
The outcry from residents is being heard. Brian Martineau, who oversees road resurfacing and paving for the Manatee County Public Works Department, said Wednesday he will personally drive through the area this week to survey the situation, and he'll send an assistant from the maintenance division to check on the potholes.
Because Manatee County has grown so much in the past 20 years, an outside agency has been hired to develop a comprehensive study of all roads conditions, which Martineau says is ongoing. Caring for the roads in the Lakewood Ranch community is challenging because development has occurred in different segments, he said.
"We're setting up a budget now, but there are no immediate plans to resurface Lakewood Ranch Boulevard," Martineau said. "But that doesn't mean it won't happen in the future."
Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.