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Date of Issue: April 15, 2009

Signal change a go in Holmes Beach

Holmes Beach Police Chief Jay Romine says there’s a green light for a plan to improve traffic management at the intersection at East Bay Drive and Manatee Avenue.

The change — the installation of new signal heads — is the result of cooperation between HBPD, the Florida Department of Transportation and Manatee County and some urging from Holmes Beach citizens.

Citizens, especially residents at Westbay Cove condominiums, had complained that motorists traveling north on East Bay Drive often turn left onto Manatee Avenue, cutting off drivers exiting Westbay Cove.

A sign at the intersection cautions the left-turning East Bay motorists to yield, but Romine said too many fail to follow the rule.

Several weeks ago, the DOT agreed to install stronger mast arms at the intersection for heavier signal equipment and then “split phase” the traffic signal. Split-phase signals display the left-turn arrow and circular greens in one direction, then cuts both of those off, and displays the left-turn arrow and circular greens for the opposite direction.

The new mast arms, however, were not scheduled for installation until 2010, when other improvements are scheduled to take place on East Bay and Gulf drives in the city.

Romine continued to seek a speedier resolution to slow left-turning drivers and last week learned that the DOT and county will partner on an interim fix — the installation of new signal heads and an agreement to hold back drivers turning left from East Bay until motorists exit Westbay Cove.

The DOT will provide the equipment and the county will install the signals sometime in the next several months.