Traffic deterrents

For those leaving and entering the University via Fletcher Avenue, traffic won’t be getting better anytime soon.

But after the construction of a new parking garage and intersection improvements to Fletcher Avenue are completed, commuters may breathe a little easier.

According to Hillsborough County Project Manager Dana Mackey, construction along the intersections of Fletcher Avenue and North Palm Drive and Fletcher Avenue and 42nd Street are 33 percent complete.

Mackey said the intersections should still be completed on time by early August or late September.

When it’s completed, Mackey said traffic congestion at the affected areas will be significantly reduced.

“I think the whole intersection improvement is to facilitate movement of traffic both onto and off of campus,” Director of Facilities Planning Ronald Hanke said.

Construction crews are busy paving three new right-hand turn lanes to ease traffic around the intersection. Both the right-hand turn lane entering USF from Fletcher onto North Palm and the right-hand turning lane leaving USF onto Fletcher are nearing completion.

“They are getting close to paving the additional right-hand turn lane coming out of Fletcher,” Hanke said. “They are going to do all of the resurfacing of the existing road toward the end of the project.”

Construction crews are still working to extend a right-hand turn lane starting near Avalon Heights Apartments and ending at 42nd Street.

“It’s going to help with capacity,” Mackey said. “People who are wanting to turn right now are not going to be impacting the flow of traffic on Fletcher.”

Hillsborough County also plans to set up new pedestrian crosswalk signs with countdown timers.

A new parking garage located at the corner of North Laurel and West Holly should also ease traffic next fall.

The new garage was supposed to be completed before the beginning of fall classes, but construction is taking longer than expected.

Hanke said there were a number of voids in the ground during construction of the foundation, and they had to be sealed with cement before construction continued.

According to Hanke, construction of Garage III should be completed by mid October.

The new garage will offer 1,500 new spaces.

On March 20, the construction company Perry McCall started trucking in large sections of the garage.

According to assistant project manager Chris Nye, there are more than 1,000 pieces that will be brought to the site within the next 14 weeks. He said some of these pieces may require a single truck to transport one section as large as 60 feet to the construction site.

“Pretty much what they bring in goes up,” Nye said. “Most of it’s too big and would take up too much space.”

People who are on campus for the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and psychology building will most likely use the new garage, Director of Parking and Transportation Services Manuel Lopez said. In the future, a new Advanced Health Care Center may also utilize the new parking spaces.

“It’s now looking like a garage,” Lopez said. “It’s moving quickly.”