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People have died at this Palmetto intersection. Big changes might be be coming

Palmetto is determined to stop the loss of life at this dangerous intersection

Palmetto is looking into ways to improve safety at an intersection that has claimed at least three lives.
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Palmetto is looking into ways to improve safety at an intersection that has claimed at least three lives.

It’s possible a notoriously deadly intersection in Palmetto could undergo drastic changes to improve safety.

The city of Palmetto is in talks with the Florida Department of Transportation to look at improving the intersection of 23rd Street West and Business 41, which could entail moving 23rd Street West.

Currently, drivers trying to turn left onto U.S. 41 Business have to watch for speeding drivers headed south into Palmetto across a wide stretch of road without a traffic signal.

While no official plans have been made with FDOT, Palmetto Public Works director Allen Tusing said he has brought up the idea with them in discussions.

Tusing said the conversation about 23rd Street West started after FDOT sent him some plans for a project at 26th Street West.

The thought was to have right-in, right-out only turns at 23rd Street West, but Tusing said they also discussed moving 23rd Street West in order to split the two corners. Tusing noted FDOT seemed to like the idea of moving the road.

“We want to move it further down to the north of the property line between the two curves (on U.S. 41 Business),” Tusing said. “We kind of want to stick it almost in the middle.”

Moving the road could put the intersection on flat ground, improving visibility, and therefore safety, and would allow for the possibility of a roundabout or traffic light, according to Tusing.

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The intersection has been the topic of conversation before. In November, commissioners noted at least two people had died there in the last few years and several more injured.

Palmetto High School student Holli Stanek, 17, died after crashing at the intersection in October 2017. She was trying to turn left off of 23rd Street West onto U.S. 41 Business.

Tusing said he hopes to get with police and encourage students to stop driving that route to nearby Palmetto High School.

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Discussions with FDOT will continue, Tusing said, and improvements to the intersection are already planned for as part of the projects that will be funded by the half-cent sales tax.

FDOT projects already planned for the Palmetto area include Canal Road, where Tusing told commissioners a stoplight is expected to be installed as well as a project planned for 26th Street West and the ongoing work on 10th Street.

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Sara Nealeigh covers what’s happening in the cities of Bradenton and Palmetto, Florida for the Bradenton Herald. She previously covered breaking news for the Herald after moving to Florida from Ohio in 2016.
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