MANATEE -- The Florida Department of Transportation is poised to award a $12.7 million contract at the end of the month for a lengthy improvement project along State Road 64, officials said Thursday.
The project calls for widening of the divided roadway from four to six lanes, from west of Carlton Arms Boulevard to just west of Interstate 75, according to Cindy Clemmons, public information director for FDOT’s District One.
Work is scheduled to begin in March, and continue for 450 days, Clemmons said.
Improvements will include milling and resurfacing of the existing roadway, and widening to accommodate three, 12-foot-wide travel lanes, a five-foot bike lane, outside curb and gutter with drainage swales, and sidewalks in both directions, she said.
The project is slated to include six signalized intersections: At Carlton Arms Boulevard; 43rd Street East; 48th Street Court East; 57th Street East; 60th Street Court East, and 64th Street Court East/66th Street Court East, she said.
A resident at River Pointe, a subdivision north of State Road 64 near the Braden River, was dismayed to hear that FDOT still plans to close a median at 39th Street East and to omit a traffic light and an additional median at 41st Street East allowing ingress and egress.
Arif Abdulla, an architect who lives at River Pointe, argued Thursday that FDOT’s plan will force residents in his neighborhood to either use residential streets to reach 43rd Street East, where there will be a signal, or make a U-turn at the Carlton Arms Boulevard intersection in order to go east on State Road 64.
“I would like to see FDOT consider an adjustment to the plan, and budget to include design and installation of signalization at 41st Street East,” said Abdulla.
Residents have been requesting such a change at least since 2009, he said, but added he thought that FDOT engineers had, “failed to listen to us.”
FDOT plans to include one offsite pond on the north side of State Road 64, and two smaller ponds each in the transportation agency’s right-of-way at the east side of the Braden River Bridge, Clemmons said.
The total length of the project is about 2.5 miles, she said.
FDOT has been busy on State Road 64 in recent months, including a revamp of the roadway as it passes through downtown Bradenton that has been the source of some frustration for motorists.
The new project will extend the inconvenience, especially for residents who commute from East Bradenton or visitors who exit Interstate 75.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031.