The construction and closure of Westshore Boulevard between Bay Way and Beachway Drive has created a major headache for South Tampa commuters since April. While the construction is improving the drainage issues experienced by the flood-prone area, traffic diversions have homeowners upset as commuters zoom through local roads, like Lois Avenue, putting children, pets, and property at risk.
“Cars are going much faster than normal on Lois, and it’s a dangerous situation for children and pets in the neighborhoods,” Michelle Peterson explained to WFLA.
Although Westshore Boulevard has reopened today, construction on the road will continue, and it’s unclear whether the construction will be disruptive enough to keep motorists on their risky alternative routes. And even for those who do choose to take Westshore Boulevard again during their commute, the holes dug on the side of the road for culvert installation and other construction hazards pose a risk to drivers.
Here are tips to help our city’s motorists stay safe, whether they begin taking Westshore Boulevard again, or continue using alternative routes to get to work:
Westshore Boulevard Traffic
For motorists who will take Westshore Boulevard now that it has reopened, it’s essential to drive carefully by the construction zone, especially as there will be exposed drainage areas being fixed with new culvert systems. This caution is especially important at night, as it may be hard to see these drainage areas on a road with few street lights.
As with all construction along roadways, it’s important for motorists to be wary of debris that could impede the road and potentially cause a car accident. Drive slowly, so that you are able to stop in the case of road debris and keep an appropriate distance from the car ahead of you. Follow all directions and signage from the construction crew who may be directing traffic temporarily.
Alternative Route Traffic
While Tampa has recommended an official detour route that takes motorists over Henderson Boulevard to Dale Mabry Highway, many locals have taken to illegally turning onto Lois Avenue and using that as their detour instead.
When taking an alternative route to avoid construction, it is important to be respectful to residents and avoid residential roads that cannot take fast moving traffic. Lois Avenue is not equipped for heavy traffic, plus many drivers are speeding well-above the speed limit on it, putting residents at risk. This has caused a jump in the number of accidents in the area. “One out of 100 of them are getting dinged up right here,” explained resident Jay Lenny to WTSP, who wants greater law enforcement during the construction period.
Tampa is asking motorists not to take Lois Avenue, and are issuing citations to those who opt to make illegal left turns onto it, in the hopes drivers will take the official and safer detour route over Dale Mabry Highway.
However, residents are still observing drivers who are flouting the rules and putting people in danger. “We had drivers driving around barricades, people getting out of vehicles to move barricades, speeding through residential neighborhoods, running stop signs” wrote Michael Chucran to the Tampa Bay Times.
Tampa urges motorists to protect themselves and pedestrians while construction continues this summer. Whether you choose to continue taking alternative routes during the remainder of the construction, or begin taking Westshore Boulevard again, it’s important to drive safely in these less-than-ideal commuting conditions to avoid a car accident.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident caused by road construction or a reckless driver, they may be able to receive compensation. Read more to learn about the type of damages victims can seek with the help of our auto accident attorneys. If you are prepared to pursue a claim, fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form today.