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Intersection work approved in Palmetto to keep traffic flowing

PALMETTO — Residents on the west side of town will have a smoother drive along two-lane 10th Street West to their favorite shopping center or restaurant in the future.

The City Commission Monday approved agreements with the Florida Department of Transportation to improve two intersections on the busy east-west corridor.

Surveying has begun for adding left-turn lanes to 10th Street West at 14th Avenue West, said Frank Woodward, assistant director of the city public works department.

“These projects are very important for traffic flow,” Woodward said. “There is a lot of traffic from west of the city and Snead Island heading east.”

He also said new left-turn lanes will help improve traffic going to the new Palmetto Elementary School on 10th Street West, just west of 14th Avenue West, scheduled to open in August.

The intersection improvement project, which includes left-turn lanes on 10th Street West, widening of 14th Avenue West north and south of the intersection, and repaving, will cost $450,000.

The other project at 10th Street and 10th Avenue West also includes left-turn lanes on 10th Street, road widening, and repaving, and will cost $632.237.

The 10th Street and 10th Avenue project will not begin until after July when the money becomes available from the state, which is paying for both intersection improvements through a Local Agency Program grant.

These improvements have been in the works for about three years, Woodward said, when the Manatee-Sarasota Metropolitan Planning Organization authorized the funds for Congestion Management System grants.

“We knew traffic backs up at both intersections when someone is making a left-hand turn and created congestion,” Woodward said.

“By putting in the turn lanes, we can improve traffic flow.”

In other city business Monday, the commission:

n Voted 3-2 to approve a contract with Clark Communities, Inc., or CCI, to administer a federal Community Development Block Grant of $750,000 for a Ward I improvement project. The CCI contract was for $60,000.

Commissioners Tamara Cornwell and Brian Williams voted against the approval, voicing their concern about the lop-sided scoring of the bidding process. The commission suggested the staff review how scoring for city contract bids is conducted.