By LINDA CHION KENNEY
Hillsborough County officials seek public comment on another construction project affecting south Hillsborough County residents and commuters, this time involving intersection improvements at Balm Riverview and Rhodine roads.
Public engagement via the Hillsborough County Engagement Hub is open through Aug. 2.
Aimed to reduce traffic congestion and to enhance motorist, cyclist and pedestrian safety, the project includes widening the Balm Riverview/Rhodine roads intersection to add turn and through lanes in both the north-and-southbound directions. Also, to improve the area’s drainage, the project includes installing a stormwater pond at the intersection’s northwest corner.
According to county officials, phased lane closures will cause temporary delays during the construction period, which is expected to begin in fall 2022 and last through spring 2023.
The total cost for the county funded project has been pegged at nearly $6.1 million, which includes roughly $5 million in construction costs. Officials say the costs are best estimates and subject to frequent changes, which, if necessary, are updated monthly.
More specifically, plans call for right-turn lanes, crosswalks and 5-foot bike lanes to be added on both eastbound and westbound segments of Rhodine Road. Also, signals with left-turn arrows at each of the intersection’s four segments will be added to improve left-turn safety.
Likewise, signals with left-turn arrows will be installed for the southbound and northbound segments of Balm Riverview Road. Moreover, a through lane, crosswalk and bike lane will be installed on the southbound segment. For the northbound segment, plans call for a through-lane, right-turn lane, crosswalk and bicycle lane.
Information gleaned from the public engagement process will be forwarded to Hillsborough County project manager Jason Turner. Based on public comments and engineering analyses, the proposed intersection improvements could be maintained or refined.
Meanwhile, the County has a Capital Projects Viewer that displays “best available data” for active capital improvement projects, best viewed using Chrome or Firefox web browsers.
As of Monday morning, July 19, the list included 547 projects searchable by project phase, county commissioner district, and type (such as intersections; roadway corridor improvements; library, parks, and pedestrian and bike facilities; potable and reclaimed water; stormwater and water quality; and more).
A search by “community area” shows projects broken down into 27 categories, including the south Hillsborough County areas of Riverview (26 projects), Ruskin (24), Summerfield (17), Balm/Wimauma (14), Apollo Beach (11), Gibsonton (11), Sun City Center (9) and Lithia (7).
Leading the list of community area projects were Brandon (80), City of Tampa (60), Carrollwood (55), Town N’ Country (46) and East Lake (26).
Among the items in south Hillsborough County are the Big Bend Road Corridor Improvement and I-75 Interchange Improvements from Covington Garden Drive to Simmons Loop ($97.22 million); a youth sports complex in Waterset ($10.25 million); new Adult Day Health Services for south county residents in Balm/Wimauma ($3.23 million); Sun City Boulevard Multi-Use Path Mobility Improvements, including pedestrian and bike facilities ($3.34 million); the South County WWTP Modular Expansion wastewater project in Ruskin ($24.23 million); and the newly opened Riverview replacement library, at 9951 Balm Riverview Road ($12.7 million).
To find links to both the CIP Project Map Viewer for desktop users and the Mobile CIP Viewer, visit www.HCFLGov.net and search for “County Capital Improvement Projects.” To participate in the virtual public engagement opportunity for the Balm Riverview and Rhodine roads intersection project, search for “Hillsborough County Engagement Hub.”