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Date of Issue: October 11, 2007

Marina Drive streetscape work begins

A crew spreads asphalt on Oct. 3 on Marina Drive. Work began last week on a project to improve the traffic flow in downtown Holmes Beach, as well as beautify the area. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

Motorists who pass hay bales on Marina Drive might guess Holmes Beach decided to get into the Halloween spirit.

But no, work is under way to improve the downtown stretch of Marina Drive, as well as the street’s intersection with Gulf Drive. The hay bales protect against any runoff from the construction project, said Holmes Beach public works superintendent Joe Duennes.

Duennes acknowledged last week that three days into the project, with the traffic islands cut away and a block of sidewalk removed, curiosity about the hay bales had generated the most inquiries to city hall.

The Marina Drive streetscape project, contracted to Superior Asphalt, will take about a month to six weeks to complete, according to Duennes.

Engineers designed the project to improve traffic flow through downtown, but beautification also is an objective, said Holmes Beach Parks and Beautification Committee chair Jim Dunne. The project provides for planting sable palms along Marina Drive, as well as added greenery along Gulf Drive.

On Marina Drive, people will notice a sidewalk missing on the west side of the Island Branch Library. The sidewalk will be replaced after some drainage improvements in the area.

Once the project is completed, pedestrians and motorists will notice two new crosswalks — one will run north and south on the east side of Marina Drive at the entrance to the Wachovia Bank parking lot, and another will run north and south on the east side of Marina at 56th Street.

Nearby on Marina Drive, the white poles or “delineators” used to designate a right-hand turn to 56th Street will be removed.

“We want those out,” Duennes said. “They are constantly getting knocked over.”

People also will notice that the Marina Drive median in the 5400 block will be cut to half its current length. The purpose, said Duennes, is to create a longer left-hand turn lane.

“We want more capacity there,” he said.

Also, a curb will be built along the south side of Gulf Drive at the Marina Drive intersection to better direct traffic from a nearby parking lot.

The Superior Asphalt crew plans to keep at least one lane of traffic on Marina Drive open throughout the construction period. However, Duennes said occasionally some traffic might be diverted to Holmes Boulevard.