North Roosevelt Boulevard in Key Weird got a new traffic pattern last week, four days earlier than planned.
The $41.5 million reconstruction of the 2.9 mile city street is a little more than halfway complete after 15 months of work and business owners continue to lose customers — meaning money. They’ve been pushing the Florida Department of Transportation to end to the work early. Based on FLDOT reports, the project is 66.3% complete after 544 days of construction that started on April 23 and is expected to culminate in September.
When 2014 rolls around, the 2.9-mile street will have a magnificent new seawall with a 20-foot-wide, landscaped promenade, alongside four lanes of traffic plus a center turn lane, and a six-foot sidewalk.
I’ve (tried to) drive North Roosevelt during this shutdown. A “difficult traffic mess” is an understatement. Reopening parts of the unfinished street should help businesses attract the customers who have avoided them for the last two years. And Fantasy Fest started Saturday.
The plans look good but I have a fundamental distrust of Florida’s road constructors.
This North Roosevelt tie up follows the almost-seven-year boondoggle on the 18-mile stretch, three years to lay sewers and repave Overseas Highway through Marathon, and more. The 18-mile stretch, that important artery that connects the Keys with the United States, was redesigned for safety. Particularly during hurricane evacuations. That’s probably why it gets closed pretty much every time there’s a fender bender. And Route 1 through Marathon is yet another choke point, right in the middle of the Keys. At least when they finished that project, there were still two lanes going each direction. And no traffic circles.
Y’all think we should throw the bums out of Washington. All of them. I agree but I reckon it’d be better to start with the DOT and work our way up.