Connector on track for 2013 completion
Venice city staff recently came back with good news for North Venice residents and city hall regarding the proposed north-south connector: An accelerated construction schedule will be met without any additional costs.
City Engineer Kathleen Weeden said the design-build bidding process was extended to accommodate city council’s request to complete the project sooner rather than later.
The road will connect Laurel Road with Border Road, providing a second escape route for businesses and residents living east of Interstate 75 off Laurel Road.
“The bid award includes an accelerated schedule for substantial completion by Sept. 30, 2013, at no additional cost,” Weeden announced during a recent council meeting.
ET MacKenzie of Bradenton and Stantec engineering firm won the $4.9 million bid.
Funds will come from a pool of $5.9 million in road impact fees collected by Sarasota County on behalf of the city.
Weeden also announced two changes to the project: a slight adjustment in the layout to avoid wetlands, and the addition of a left-turn lane on Laurel Road into the Venetian Golf & River Club via Veneto Boulevard.
The layout adjustment would allow construction to be done quicker, Weeden said, and avoid impacts to wetlands.
The turn lane is a “safety improvement for residents turning from eastbound East Laurel Road into the Venetian Golf & River Club subdivision,” she said.
Preliminary traffic studies showed a left-turn lane was justified, Weeden said.
No traffic signals are proposed at this time.
The East Laurel Road/Border Road intersection will be controlled with a stop sign on the North-South Connector road, according to Weeden.
Ultimately, the county will own, operate and maintain the road since it’s considered an arterial road connecting two county roads.
It will be an evacuation route, which is typically operated by the county, for North Venice and other nearby residents.
The project anticipates construction of the outside two lanes (eventually it will be widened into a four-lane road) with a 12-foot multi-use trail on the west side, a 5-foot sidewalk on the east side, bike lanes on both sides of the road and associated stormwater drainage. Landscaping and lighting will be minimal.
The road will provide an additional connection point for the Ribbons of Venice program, Weeden said, allowing bicyclists to make their way from Venice’s Myakka Park via Border Road into the Carlton Reserve, and nearby Deer Prairie Creek in North Port.