FDOT Set To Outline Gandy Project's History

By MICHAEL H. SAMUELS The Tampa Tribune

Published: Feb 15, 2007

A transportation planning group has asked the state to present its Gandy Boulevard improvement plans after residents complained the project has been scaled down too much.

Kris Carson, spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, said the state does not intend to rework the modified plans during a Metropolitan Planning Organization committee meeting Tuesday. Instead, state officials will present the MPO with a history of the project.

Initial bids came in at $46 million, almost double the amount budgeted, leaving the state to redraw its plans.

Carson said another bid process is expected to begin in September for the project, now pegged at $24 million. Work would start in early 2008.

The state has reduced sidewalk widths and paving surface depth, and changed decorative lighting to conventional lighting from the Gandy Bridge to Bridge Street, Carson said.

City Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena, a member of the regional planning organization, sees many problems with the modified plans, including the narrow sidewalks and absence of bicycle lanes.

"We need to do it right," Saul-Sena said. "The community is very concerned about this."

Al Steenson, president of the Gandy Civic Association and a member of the MPO's citizens advisory committee, said he wants what the state promised the neighborhoods.

"With all the development going on both sides of the bay, it's got to be done," Steenson said. "This has been kicking around for 20 years."

The MPO policy committee will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday on the 18th floor of County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd.

Reporter Michael H. Samuels can be reached at (813) 835-2109 or msamuels@tampatrib.com.


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