BRADENTON -- The long-awaited Manatee Avenue West street lighting project is progressing, once it kicked off at the end of August after years of delay, says Florida Department of Transportation spokesman Robin Stublen.
"The project is on schedule," Stublen said. "All of the foundations for the poles are poured. There have not been any challenges to the project."
The project began Aug. 25 after $390,000 of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funding was awarded to MSB Services of Bradenton.
Project manager Michael DeLagarza confirmed that the project was moving forward smoothly.
The lighting project is taking place between 59th and 77th streets west. It was expected to begin last March with the installation of 35 new poles.
FDOT approved the project more than a year ago after the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning
Organization recommended it be expedited as a priority safety project.
According to FDOT crash data from 2008-2012, there have been 245 crashes in the project area.
The majority of the accidents, which include 13 vehicle collisions with bicycles and pedestrians, occurred in the daylight hours when traffic is heavy.
However, 49 accidents have occurred at night when traffic is light, and the dark stretch of Manatee Avenue West is largely suspected as the issue.
The project is actually a continuation of a street lighting project that began on 39th Street West about six years ago.
That project was scheduled to go all the way to 75th Street West, but stopped at 59th Street West.
MSB Services was given 150 days to complete the project, but DeLagarza previously expressed confidence that his company will finish ahead of schedule.
There will be periodic lane closures associated with the street light installation from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. and at night from 7:30 p.m. through 7 a.m.
No lanes will be closed during before- and after-school traffic.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter @urbanmark2014.