CLEARWATER - Beach traffic will soon have a new preferred route. The Clearwater City Council on Monday directed City staff to reconfigure Cleveland Street to create four lanes of traffic, two eastbound and two westbound. The changes will remain in effect until the new Memorial Causeway Bridge opens in September 2005.
The Council action was taken to avoid traffic issues related to the Myrtle Avenue construction project. Westbound Drew Street has been relied on as a second lane of traffic to the old Memorial Causeway Bridge, but planned closures to install large box culverts and underground utilities at the Drew-Myrtle Avenue intersection would have detoured traffic for two 3-week periods in May and August.
Mahshid Arasteh, Clearwater's Public Works Administrator, suggested creating two westbound lanes on Cleveland Street by removing on-street parking on its north side as a temporary solution during the Drew Street closures. But the Council, led by Mayor Frank Hibbard, was of a different mind.
The Council had decided only three months ago on reconfiguring Cleveland Street to accommodate Spring Break traffic, but those decisions were made without the knowledge that Drew Street would soon see temporary closures. One of the alternatives considered in January, championed by Mayor Hibbard, would have reduced the dependence on Drew Street's ability to carry beach traffic by creating four lanes on Cleveland Street.
Hibbard's alternative got another look on Monday. It consists of:
The Council unanimously endorsed Hibbard's solution, and directed staff to implement it permanently, that is until the new Memorial Causeway Bridge opens. In addition to solving the issue of Drew Street construction closures, it also resolves traffic issues that would be caused by its temporary closures for Coachman Park events.
The Council also directed staff to accomplish the construction at the Drew/Myrtle intersection in one closure rather than two, hoping that efficiencies might reduce the duration of the road closure to something less than the six week total currently planned.
According to Arasteh, the installation of new Cleveland Street striping is expected to begin on April 15.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition