MANATEE -- With a combination of roundabouts and signalized intersections planned, Manatee County residents will have the chance to give their input on the 15th Street East Complete Street project.
Florida Department of Transportation will have a public hearing Thursday, March 10, about the proposed improvements to 15th Street East/U.S. 301 Boulevard East from Tallevast Road to U.S. 41. At 5 p.m., the open house at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church, 833 Magellan Drive, will being with a formal presentation at 6 p.m., followed by a public comment portion.
"People should come to the public hearing to see what the recommendations are for the corridor and to give their input on the project," FDOT spokesman Robin Stublen said.
During the open house, the public will have the chance to see what the recommended alternatives along the 4.5-mile stretch would look like. Roundabouts are being proposed to be built at Tallevast Road, Whitfield Avenue, 57th Avenue East, 51st Avenue East and 49th Avenue East. Signals are being proposed for 63rd Avenue East, 53rd Avenue East, Ninth Street East and 44th Avenue East.
"The public will be able to review display boards showing images of the recommended alternative," Stublen said. "These images include what 15th Street East/301 Boulevard East will look like with these improvements. ... People will also have a chance to discuss the project with FDOT representatives and view a video on the benefits of roundabouts."
Other project improvements include widening the roadway from two to three lanes, which includes a center two-way left-turn lane; bicycle lanes; sidewalks; pedestrian crossings; bus stop improvements; and street lighting.
After Thursday's public hearing, FDOT will "accumulate all of the public input and consider the comments and make changes as appropriate," Stublen said.
At that point, the project team will get project documentation ready to submit to the Federal Highway Association for approval, which is required to have federal funds authorized for the project, Stublen said.
"At this time, there is no funding for design, right-of-way acquisition or construction," Stublen said, adding that FDOT has previously said that design could start as early as this summer.
Manatee County has previously identified the portion from 63rd Avenue East to 49th Avenue East as the highest priority.
The public can also review the recommended alternative at the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization, 7632 15th St. E., Sarasota, through March 21. MPO's hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Public comments can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or at the project website, multimodal15thstreet.com until March 21.
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter@Claire_Aronson.