CLEARWATER - Residents and visitors to Clearwater's islands will be driving a new route starting on Monday, July 11. The intersection of Cleveland Street and Myrtle Avenue will be closed six weeks for construction, blocking what has been the primary route for beach-bound traffic.
Drew Street will become the only westbound access to the Clearwater Memorial Bridge during the closure of Cleveland. Drew will be widened to two westbound lanes between Osceola Avenue and the bridge by removing on-street parking on the west side. Beach-bound traffic will be diverted to Drew at several points; Keene Road, Highland Avenue, Missouri Avenue, Martin Luther King Blvd. and Ft. Harrison Avenue.
With beach traffic diverted onto Drew Street, Cleveland Street merchants will begin to experience the reduction in through traffic that will become permanent with the opening of the new Memorial Causeway Bridge in September.
Westbound lanes of Cleveland will be sealed off just west of the Harborview driveway, according to Paul Bertels, Clearwater's Traffic Operations Manager. This will allow eastbound traffic coming off the bridge to turn left onto Drew Street, a movement that has been prohibited. Eastbound traffic leaving the beach can also use Cleveland Street as far as East Avenue, detouring onto Drew Street or Chestnut Street to get around the closed Cleveland/Myrtle intersection.
The Cleveland/Myrtle intersection is scheduled to reopen on August 22, at which time the Drew Street and Cleveland Street traffic patterns will be restored to their current condition.
Two more changes are planned. Beach traffic will begin using Court and Chestnut Streets in September with the scheduled opening of the new Memorial Causeway Bridge. And Downtown traffic will again be affected when the Cleveland Streetscape construction begins; Bertels said that project would start "sometime this fall or early January."
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