Widened facility helps relieve congestion,
improve safety in busy area of western Florida
By Eric Widholm
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
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.