Residents were assured during a sparsely attended virtual public hearing hosted by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in February that the plans to redesign and modify part of Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. south of its intersection with S.R. 54 are ongoing.
Construction on the median project is expected to begin in early 2022.
The project centers around the northbound and southbound median just south of the actual intersection.
The median currently has an opening allowing motorists to cross from exits between the Sonny’s BBQ and Sun Trust Bank adjacent to the Publix-anchored Hollybrook Plaza to southbound BBD or straight across to the west, to the Village Market shopping center, and from the Village Market to northbound BBD or across eastbound to the Hollybrook Plaza.
The plan is basically to extend the median and eliminate any cutting across BBD from either side.
It is not an uncommon sight to see an accident at the northbound side in front of the Sonny’s BBQ or Taco Bell.
According to FDOT, the median project was initiated by an intersection study that showed 233 “crashes” had been reported in that area from 2011-15.
A Neighborhood News Reader Survey in 2017 voted the BBD/54 intersection as the second-worst in Wesley Chapel, behind the I-75 and S.R. 56 intersection (which will have a new Diverging Diamond Interchange by the end of 2021).
The plan to make the location safer centers around closing what is now a split median and constructing one long median from Eagleston Blvd. to the south all the way north to S.R. 54.
Under the current set up, the northbound far left turn lane, when filled during busy traffic hours, extends beyond the median opening and blocks those trying to cross BBD.
Now, with a single, longer median, that left turn lane will be extended to accommodate more vehicles, which will reduce congestion.
There also will be a new traffic signal installed at Eagleston, and new roadway lighting added to the northbound lanes, as well as some resurfacing.
At the southbound end of the new median where the light will be installed, a dedicated U-turn lane will be built for motorists wanting to get to Hollybrook Plaza (this also can be achieved by merely driving east through the BBD/54 intersection and entering via two entrance points off S.R. 54).
FDOT says it plans to let the project out to bid in October, with construction beginning a few months later.