As the 44th Avenue East extension project continues creeping eastward, construction on one roundabout began this week — and another nearby is just about to get started.
With the construction of each single-lane roundabout expected to take two months, the roundabout at 27th Street East and 38th Avenue East is coming first. The second roundabout is located at 30th Street East and 38th Avenue East.
“It will take a total of four months to complete both,” said Trudy Gerena, who does community outreach for Manatee County.
Roundabouts were selected at these intersections to enhance traffic safety, reduce the occurrences of crashes and improve traffic flow, Gerena said.
“A single-lane roundabout is justified as an appropriate type of intersection to improve overall safety, traffic calming and operations while still maintaining an adequate level of service,” she said.
The contractor, E.T. MacKenzie of Florida Inc., is working Monday through Friday and intermittent Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the $11.9 million project, which stretches from 19th Street Court East to 30th Street East, according to a project information sheet. There is also periodic night work anticipated during construction.
“Motorists will experience temporary changes in the traffic pattern at both of these intersections,” according to the information sheet. “As the 27th Street East roundabout nears substantial completion, temporary striping will be placed and the contractor will open the roundabout to traffic. The contractor will then begin construction of the roundabout at 30th Street East. Ongoing activities include drainage, landscaping, installation of sod and construction of pods.”
Once the roundabouts are constructed and the project is complete, the traffic signal at U.S. 301 and 38th Avenue East will be removed, according to Gerena.
The “38th Avenue East access from/to U.S. 301 will be right-in/right-out only,” she said, adding that the traffic signals at U.S. 301 and 44th Avenue East will be fully operational sometime this summer.
The roundabouts are part of the 44th Avenue East extension, which when complete will be a major east-west thoroughfare. While the first phase of the east-west connector from U.S. 41 to 19th Street Court East is completed and open to traffic, work continues on the remaining sections of the roadway extension, which will ultimately extend Cortez Road in Bradenton to Lorraine Road in Lakewood Ranch. County officials have estimated the project to cost about $130 million when finished.
When complete, the majority of 44th Avenue East will be a four-lane divided roadway with landscaped medians, bike lanes and sidewalks. Two bridges will be required as part of the project — one over the Braden River and one over Interstate 75.
According to Gerena, other upcoming construction anticipated as part of the 44th Avenue project includes:
- Manatee County begins the land acquisition phase on 44th Avenue East from 45th Street East to 44th Avenue Plaza East, which includes Braden River Crossing. All the plans for this segment were received by Dec. 21.
- The design team is coordinating with Florida Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration on the overpass design over Interstate 75.
- For the 45th Street East widening from State Road 70 to 44th Avenue East, it is in the purchasing phase in preparation for bidding by a contractor. Construction is anticipated to start this summer.