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Bartow, Fla. – Safety improvements on MLK Boulevard in Winter Haven will start Friday evening, June 16, when the contractor begins removing the asphalt in the two-way center turn lane between 5th Street Northwest and 1st Street North.

The project includes adding a 15-foot-wide raised median with curb and gutter to replace the existing center turn lane. Other safety improvements include an extended left turn lane and traffic separator at eastbound 1st Street North, a directional median opening with a left turn lane and traffic separator at eastbound 3rd Street Northwest, and Unity Way Northwest resurfacing to accommodate the median changes.

Once the new median and traffic separator are in place, motorists will still be able to make right turns in and out of the side streets but will no longer be able to make left turns across the median at 5th Street Northwest, Unity Way Northwest, and 2nd Street Northwest. A directional opening at 3rd Street Northwest will only allow eastbound motorists to make a left turn to cross the median. All other cross traffic must travel to the nearest median opening and make a U-Turn to reach their destination. These changes are the result of a traffic study conducted in late 2021 that evaluated turning movements, traffic counts, and crash history along MLK Boulevard. For more information, visit www.swflroads.com/project/447877-1.