|ROW Cost:||$16 million|
FDOT, along with Manatee County, has identified the need to make improvements along SR 70 from Lorraine Road to CR 675 (Waterbury Road) in order to improve highway operations, safety, and regional mobility. The SR 70 Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study evaluated widening SR 70 within the project limits from a two-lane undivided facility to a four- or six-lane divided roadway. SR 70 is a principal arterial and a primary east-west highway for Manatee County and provides regional access to employment centers, agricultural lands, and residential areas across the state. SR 70 is part of the designated Strategic Intermodal System (SIS) highway network.
Intersection improvements are analyzed at Lorraine Road, Greenbrook Boulevard, Uihlein Road, Del Webb Boulevard, Bourneside Boulevard and CR 675 (Waterbury Rd); bicycle and pedestrian accommodations will be included in the project limits. An access management plan was developed to provide optimal median locations throughout the project corridor. Specific right-of-way requirements were determined during the PD&E Study and early design phases.
The Right-of-way is fully funded and currently underway..
Need for the Project
The purpose of this project is to improve traffic operational conditions along the SR 70 corridor from Lorraine Road to CR 675 (Waterbury Road) to accommodate projected travel demand, specifically increased commuter and freight traffic. Traffic flow within the corridor is of particular concern given the high percentage of heavy trucks and their unique acceleration and deceleration characteristics which cause vehicular travel delay and, ultimately, impact the movement of commuter and freight traffic on the two-lane undivided roadway. The need for the project is based on the following criteria:
Improve Operational Conditions
This project is anticipated to improve traffic operations and preserve operational capacity along SR 70 to address increased travel demand as a result of projected growth along the corridor and higher volumes of heavy trucks on the corridor due to agricultural and ranching activities in the area.
Enhance Safety along the Corridor
Data obtained from the Florida Department of Transportation Safety Office for the five-year period from 2010 to 2014 indicates that the five-year average crash rate for the SR 70 project corridor is significantly higher than the five-year statewide average crash rate for similar facilities within the state. The proposed project is anticipated to improve safety characteristics of the facility, which are particularly exacerbated by the high truck percentages, by enhancing overall traffic operations.
Improve Connectivity to the Regional Transportation Network
SR 70 serves as a principal east-west facility in the central portion of the state as it runs from US 41 in Manatee County (west coast) to US 1 in St. Lucie County (east coast). It also connects to several major north-south transportation facilities. The proposed roadway improvements are anticipated to: provide a continuous four- or six-lane connection and enhance east-west regional access; alleviate a traffic bottleneck (for eastbound traffic) that is anticipated to occur as development continues along the corridor; and complement planned SR 70 widening improvements identified in the SIS Long Range Cost Feasible Plan.
Enhance Freight Mobility and Economic Competitiveness
Given the fact that SR 70 has been designated as part of Florida's emerging SIS network and serves as one of the only major east-west roadways traversing all of central Florida and connecting to other recognized freight facilities of the state, it is critical to sustaining several regional economies. As travel demand along the corridor is expected to continue to increase, improvements to traffic operational conditions along the corridor will enhance overall access to local and regional freight distribution centers and the circulation of goods.