The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) conducted a Project Development & Environment (PD&E) study to evaluate alternative improvements along 118th Avenue (CR 296), from US 19 to east of the Roosevelt Connector in Pinellas County.
The study limits for the proposed 118th Avenue (CR 296) Connector improvements were from US 19 to East of the Roosevelt Connector in Pinellas County, Florida. The limits of this study were within the City of Pinellas Park, and unincorporated areas of Pinellas County. The length of the study area along 118th Avenue was approximately 2 miles.
A public hearing was held on August 18, 2005 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School, 6410 118th Avenue, in Largo, Florida.
Study Purpose and Need
Traffic projects indicated the volume of traffic on 118th Avenue (CR 296) just east of US 19 will approach 65,000 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) for the year 2025. Based on the FDOT’s Level of Service (LOS) tables for a non-state roadway, the level of service on CR 296 in the project study area was expected to be operating at Level of Service F. Without any improvements, the facility may be operating at LOS F by the year 2016. With more congestion from the decline in LOS, the number of accidents may increase. In addition, the proposed improvements will improve regional connectivity and the emergency evacuation potential of the corridor.
The Federal Highway Administration has determined that the project qualifies as a Type 2 Categorical Exclusion.
The existing 118th Avenue is a 6-lane divided urban county roadway that is classified as a minor arterial by the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). It has 12-foot lanes and 5-foot sidewalks on both sides, with mostly storm sewer drainage. The storm sewer systems convey runoff to existing roadside ditches and stormwater management facilities. The curbed grassed raised median is generally 20 feet wide. The typical section changes between 40th Street and 34th Street where the median widens to over 150 feet. This creates separate intersections with 40th Street and 34th Street for westbound and eastbound 118th Avenue.
Two alternatives were considered for this project: the No-Build and a Recommend Build Alternative. The Recommend Build Alternative (Alternative Dmod-G) includes constructing a 4-lane controlled-access facility with 2-lane frontage roads for local access along 118th Avenue from US 19 to east of the Roosevelt/CR296 Connector. This alternative includes a flyover ramp from southbound US 19 to eastbound 118th Avenue and ramp connections with the Roosevelt/CR 296 Connector as well as an urban interchange at 49th Street (CR 611). This alternative would allow the intersection at 43rd Street to remain connected to the 118th Avenue frontage roads. Additional right-of-way would be required for the proposed improvements, mostly along the north side of 118th Avenue. As a result of input received during the Public Hearing phase, the Recommended Build Alternative has been selected as the Preferred Alternative for future project production phases.
The proposed typical section west of 49th Street includes four 12-foot lanes (two in each direction) with auxiliary lanes for the ramp connections to the elevated express lanes and a 4-foot bicycle lane and 6-foot sidewalk on each side.
The proposed typical section east of 49th Street includes frontage roads with 12-foot lanes, including auxiliary lanes for the ramp connections to the elevated express lanes, and 4-foot bike lanes and 6-foot sidewalks. The elevated express lane portion includes 10-foot outside shoulders and two 12-foot lanes in each direction separated by an 18-foot median.