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Wider Hwy 301 To Ease North-South Traffic In Sarasota

Commuters driving north or south through Sarasota will soon have a smoother ride.

U.S. Highway 301 is undergoing a transformation that, although taking place along one major highway, is comprised of two separate projects: one improving 301 from Wood Street to Myrtle Street near Sarasota's downtown district, and the other improving the highway from Myrtle to DeSoto Road.

"The main thing is to increase traffic to provide an alternate route to go north and south other than U.S. 41," says Florida Department of Transportation spokesperson Ken Nelson.

The Myrtle to DeSoto project will add two lanes, sidewalks and bicycle lanes and improve traffic signals and drainage systems. Construction began in October 2009, and the costs come in at $9.73 million. Cone & Graham Construction is the general contractor and the project is designed by the Wantman Group. According to Nelson, the project is funded through federal stimulus money.

The Wood Street to Myrtle Street project will add a southbound lane on U.S. 41 from Osprey Avenue to the U.S. 41/U.S. 301 intersection, add additional traffic lanes, upgrade traffic signals, provide a new pedestrian crossing, improve bus shelters and add or improve handicap ramps. Costs for this project come in at $18.3 million. The general contractor is Prince Contracting.

Nelson says both projects are going well.

"The project from Wood to Myrtle south lane is open and they're putting in the northbound lane,'' Nelson says. "The contractors expect to be completely out of there by June 10. The other project will be going on until the later part of the summer."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Ken Nelson, Florida Department of Transportation

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