Frequently Asked Questions and Virtual Meeting Responses for the Belcher Road and Gulf to Bay Intersection Project

Overall Project

Will the intersection at Belcher Road and the Publix and Walmart shopping plazas be closed?

The traffic signal at the south end of the shopping plazas on Belcher Road would only be removed if the Expanded Traffic Signal alternative is selected. With that alternative, the driveways into the plazas would become right-in/right-out only.

Will the Publix driveway on Belcher Road between the signal at Publix/Walmart and the signal at SR 60 be closed?

No. All alternatives will maintain the driveway as a right-in/right-out driveway

When will construction take place, day or night? Will the intersection be shut down, and will there be detours?

Depending on the alternative chosen, there could be significant inconveniences during construction. However, Pinellas County and its contractors will work to minimize the interruptions and impacts. Dates, times and detours will be identified during the design phase of the project.

Will large trucks, including postal trucks, be able to make the right and left turns?

Yes. All project alternatives are designed to accommodate large trucks.

Once a project configuration is chosen, could it be considered for other Gulf to Bay Boulevard intersections?

Yes. Gulf to Bay is considered a critical evacuation route for Pinellas County and successful intersection improvements constructed during this project could be used in future improvements at other intersections along this corridor.

No-Build Alternative

Could the signal at the intersection of Belcher Road and Druid Road be synchronized with the signal at Belcher and Gulf to Bay Boulevard to improve traffic flow?

The signals are currently synchronized and optimized based on the intersection’s rated capacity.

Could the existing left-turn lane signals be programmed to allow only protected left turns?

The existing Gulf to Bay left turns are already set to allow only protected left turns from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. every day.

Could the intersection have an all-red stop for pedestrians to cross?

This location would not be an ideal candidate for this type of signal. An all-red stop is used in locations of high pedestrian movement from all directions of the intersection.

Could the crosswalks be painted yellow?

Crosswalks are required by law to be painted white.

Could flashing speed limit sign be installed?

Flashing speed limit signs could be installed if approved.

Expanded Traffic Signal Alternative

Is there an intersection in Pinellas County already built with dual left-turn lanes and a designated right-turn lane for each direction?

The intersection of US-19 and Tarpon Avenue (Keystone Road) has dual left-turn lanes with a right-turn lane for each direction.

Single Point Urban Interchange Alternative (Overpass Alternative)

Will the traffic bottleneck just be shifted to the next intersection with this alternative?

Construction of an overpass will allow the Gulf to Bay Boulevard traffic quicker access to adjacent intersections.

Median U-Turn Alternative

Will there be pedestrian crossings at the new median U-turns?

It’s possible. Any proposed new or updated pedestrian crossings will be reviewed during the design phase of the project.

How many parcels of land would need to be acquired from businesses/landowners to build the median U-turn alternative?

This will be determined in the design phase, but the alternative concept anticipates that the County will need to acquire three parcels.

Will the Belcher Road right-turn lanes be stopped to protect pedestrians?

This is an option under consideration. Traffic signal timing will be determined in the final design.

Where is the closest constructed median U-turn intersection?

There is a median U-turn intersection in Concord, NC at Poplar Tent Road and Derita Road.

Will there be sensors in the median U-turn lanes that activate the turn signals, and will vehicles be allowed to make a U-turn during gaps in traffic?

No, the median U-turn signals will be synchronized with the main traffic signal at the intersection of Belcher Road and Gulf to Bay. U-turns will be protected and only be allowed when the left-turn signal indicates it is safe to proceed.

Will the median U-turn shift traffic to neighboring roadways?

There is the potential that some drivers will choose alternate routes based on personal preference.

Where will the median U-turns be located?

The U-turns will be located on Gulf to Bay Boulevard near Mavis Tires & Brakes to the west and near Publix Liquors to the east.

How is the median U-turn safer for pedestrians?

By eliminating the left-turn lanes, more time is available for the movement of pedestrians through the intersection’s crosswalks. Pedestrian refuge areas/islands will also be constructed where the existing left-turn lanes are located.

How will drivers know to use the median U-turn for left turns?

Overhead and roadside signage will be constructed to inform local and visiting drivers how to use the intersection. This is an example sign from another location.
Median U-turn sample sign

How will right-turning traffic from Belcher Road be able to cross three lanes of traffic to get into the U-turn lane?

There will be more green-light time for northbound and southbound traffic on Belcher Road and additional time for the right-turns that will allow drivers enough time and space to navigate into the U-turn lanes.

Will a pedestrian overpass be constructed?

At this time, a pedestrian overpass is not being considered for this location.

Will the signal at Belcher Road and Publix/Walmart be eliminated?

No. By using the median U-turn alternative, this traffic signal would remain in operation.

Will there be right-turn lanes on Belcher Road?

Yes. There will be dedicated right-turn lanes on Belcher Road.

Existing northbound Belcher Road traffic occasionally backs up beyond Druid Road. How will this alternative solve the issue?

The median U-turn would improve operations on Belcher Road by increasing the volume of traffic that can safely move through the intersection during green lights, reducing back-ups.