UNIVERSITY PARK -- Benderson Development Co. hopes two new roundabouts will help alleviate traffic congestion near its Shoppes at University Town Center property.
The company will begin construction of the round abouts as it prepares for a new grocery store in the area.
The road work is designed to help with traffic issues, which were at their worst during the holidays, as well as to prepare the area for a new grocery store. Benderson's executive director of leasing-southeast Mark Chait said he can't disclose the grocer yet, but a 30,000 to 40,000 square-foot building will be constructed on the east side of the mall for a national grocer.
"They'll be a great addition to the market," Chait said.
Two new roundabouts, one at the entrance of the Shoppes at University Town Center and another between Tourist Center Drive and the Shoppes at UTC entrance will provide better traffic flow, said Todd Mathes, Benderson's director of development.
The plans also include an additional southbound lane on Cooper Creek Boulevard and a new road connecting the existing Tourist Center Drive roundabout and the new roundabout between the Shoppes at UTC entrance and Tourist Center Drive.
"We've worked with a handful of traffic engineers at UTC and on the south side of University and roundabouts are proving to be very, very functional at the mall and so we're replicating what's over there," Mathes said. "It'll be continuous movement and it will avoid the conflicts which exist right now."
Benderson estimates the work will cost between $2.5 million and $3 million. The project is Benderson's idea and the company plans to assume the entire cost. In the coming weeks, the behemoth development company will present its plans to Manatee and Sarasota Counties. They worked with both counties to develop the plans, which have been under consideration for the past 12 to 18 months, Mathes said.
Benderson will also coordinate with the Florida Department of Transportation to synchronize the plan with the existing diverging diamond project at the intersection of University Parkway and Interstate 75.
Mathes said the company hopes to begin work on May 1 and finish before November of this year.
Janelle O'Dea, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow her on Twitter@jayohday.