Road work to continue

Most students expect traffic congestion on university roads during the first week of classes. But due to construction on main thoroughfares, the lines of cars will continue long after drop/add.

This has caused students to be late to class and choose a route around or through the dirt where sidewalks were before.

Construction on Maple Drive, near the Sun Dome, began in July. But problems with funding pushed the completion date to early December, said Steve Gift, university architect.

The project had to wait on funding by physical maintenance to start improving the intersection, he said.

?When we receive little central funding, we try to improve the whole road section all at once by adding bike lanes and moving sidewalks away from the curb for pedestrian safety,? Gift said.

Improvements will cost approximately $600,000 and aim to reduce traffic congestion by adding lanes, bike lanes, sidewalks and two crosswalks like the one on West Holly, Gift said.

Junior Brent Hoffbauer said the construction has made parking and traffic hectic. He has to leave two hours early in order to find parking although he lives in an apartment close to campus, he said.

?In all my three years at USF, I have never seen it this bad. They need to stop building new buildings without parking lots,? Hoffbauer said.

Sgt. Mike Klingebiel, spokesman for UP, said while construction is continuing this fall, UP will assist with crossing and monitor the area until students start forming their routes to classes.

?University Police has been concerned for several years about the traffic flow because it is near the main entrance and the Sun Dome,? Klingebiel said. ?There is a lot of congestion at the beginning of the year, and the pedestrian and car traffic is tremendous in this area.?

Freshman Nilda Feliciano said the construction had made traffic horrible for pedestrians because the side walks are closed.

?It makes me even later to classes because I have to walk around the sidewalks,? Feliciano said.

Greg Sylvester, director for Parking and Transportation Services, said Maple Drive is a problem because of the large volume of traffic with the Sun Dome across the street.

?It can be a problem all day, especially at peak periods and breaks between classes. It backs up traffic, including the shuttles,? Sylvester said.

Sylvester said several alternatives for improvement in the area were discussed with the suggestion of a pedestrian ramp to be built above the street, however it was expected to cost more than $1 million. So the university decided on the current project.

?This is the next best thing to funnel and manage the traffic,? Sylvester said.

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