According to Ogden Clark III, director of strategic affairs for the Manatee County Public Works Department, when driving on the roads of Lakewood Ranch, a 3 mile stretch of Lorraine Road between State Road 70 and State Road 64 stands out as a thumb ache.
“You could tell it’s been broken for a while,” Clark said. “Even as a two-lane road, it is a poor quality road.
Widening Lorraine Road from two to four – which was not previously included in the county’s five-year PIC – could begin by October 2024, according to the Proposed PIC for the 2022 financial year, which must be reviewed and approved by the auditors before 1 October.
The project was placed on the proposed CIP after county commissioners said in April they wanted to see the widening of Lorraine Road speed up, citing the rapid development of homes and businesses along the route and the need to create an efficient network system.
“There must be four lanes the whole way,” Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said in February, when she said the project was one of her three road priorities. “I think it’s terrible that all of these new communities coming in and they turn out to be lanes, and we’re going to go back to four lanes and eliminate them. It makes absolutely no sense. The planning of this is horrible.
Clark said it often makes sense to wait until a road has reached its absolute maximum capacity, as development plans change often. For example, plans for new exit roads may appear out of nowhere, especially when built by private developers.
However, Clark also said that in this case, the county was caught off guard by how quickly the region has developed.
“That got the board… to say, ‘Hey, this needs to be simplified,’ Clark said. ‘It’s on our list to be four-way. How come it isn’t. not yet funded? ”
Commercial development along the northern portion of Lorraine Road includes a 7-Eleven at the intersection with SR 64. The north side of the intersection will also include undisclosed projects developed by commercial real estate company CASTO.
A a public-private partnership between the county and Publix improved the intersection of Lorraine and SR 70 to provide better access to businesses, such as Lorraine Corners Plaza, All Pets Clinic and, of course, Publix itself.
A few more county projects are planned on Lorraine Road to accommodate the rapid development.
Construction of a traffic light at Lorraine and Rangeland Parkway is expected to begin in August or September, according to Clark. Clark said the signal would better control increased traffic to Lorraine Corners Plaza, Publix and surrounding businesses, especially because the incoming traffic light on SR 70 and Post Boulevard could lead to an increase in motorists. crossing the SR 70, rather than turning on it, and entering the mall from Rangeland.
The addition of a traffic light and turning lanes at the intersection of Lorraine Road and 44th Avenue East is expected to be completed in December 2022. The county plans to extend 44th Avenue East across Interstate-75 to Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, where it would connect with the portion of the road already built at Lakewood Ranch.