The Front Beach Road CRA is making great progress with the current project and is planning and preparing for the next segment in the rebuilding of our tourist transportation corridor.
The Beckrich Road project, started in September of 2007 is right on schedule. Just last week traffic was switched to the newly paved portion of the road so that crews can begin the reconstruction of the original treaded path. Part of the process will include bringing it up to grade, repaving and curbing. The entire project, including street-side lighting, sidewalks, and landscaping will be complete by May of 2009.
The next phase of the CRA will be the South Thomas Drive area, including the road that travels past Boardwalk, past Pineapple Willies and dead-ends at Laketown Wharf and Shores of Panama. If you haven’t traveled down this road in a while, then you don’t know just how bad this road really is. This stretch of pavement looks like it was laid during colonial times, probably at least 250 years old – sarcasm.
This particular part of the CRA is unique in that there isn’t enough room to expand the roadway as much as some of the other areas. However, the final product will have two full size traffic lanes, a middle turn lane and a west-bound tram lane that will double as an expanded bike pathway. Sidewalks, lighting and landscaping will be on both sides, and the final product will be beautiful and pedistrian friendly.
The planning is almost complete, and the right of way land is nearly all purchased, but construction funding is yet to be in place. With roughly $10 million in the bank, Ben Faust of DRMP, the engineering firm overseaing the CRA operation, said they still need to raise another $20 million to fund construction and purchase right of way land for the next phase of the CRA that will cover Front Beach Road, from Walmart past Bechrich Road.
“Even in light of the current financial situation, we should still be able to raise the money we need through bond sales,” said Faust. If everything goes as planned, the South Thomas section will be advertised for bid first quarter of 2009 with a prjected start time sometime next summer. Total construction time should be around 24 months.
The next section of the CRA – Front Beach Road, from Walmart past Beckrich should begin construction summer of 2010.