Trends Spring 2015 | Page 12

Unlocking Keystone Road Widened facility helps relieve congestion, improve safety in busy area of western Florida By Eric Widholm F or years Keystone Road in northern Pinellas County, Florida, was a two-lane road bursting at its seams with a throng of bumper-to-bumper traffic. The web of aging utilities underground and overhead was equally problematic, raising the question of how to safely and efficiently reroute and upgrade the infrastructure without disrupting service and further clogging traffic on the vital roadway. Complicating matters was the rolling terrain of the corridor – uncommon in this part of the state – as well as nearby lakes, wetlands, a broad mix of residential properties, and businesses. Keystone Road is a major Hurricane Evacuation Route, meaning it must remain open. Any detour on this main point of entry to the City of Tarpon Springs would have forced traffic miles 12│ TRENDS to the north or south, causing huge problems for commuter traffic that has increased substantially because of the area’s growth. Today, the expansion of the 3-mile section of Keystone Road to four lanes between US 19 and East Lake Road is providing motorists a safer, smoother, and less-congested ride. Bicyclists and pedestrians enjoy the new multimodal trail that runs parallel to the roadway and links to the nationally recognized Fred E. Marquis Pinellas Trail. The City of Tarpon Springs has upgraded utilities to keep the City functioning well for years. The roadway facility was designed for future expansion to six lanes. And the $30 million, three-year project was completed more than $1 million under budget and 140 days ahead of schedule.