Road Diet Construction Has Started in Dixieland

The one-year test of the South Florida Avenue road diet in Dixieland doesn’t officially start until this fall, but travel is already down to three lanes.

Starting Monday, crews placed barricades on both sides of the street and painted temporary outside lane markers along Florida Avenue between Ariana Street and Lime Street.

Construction, expected to finish in early September, includes placing low concrete barriers similar to medians. When finished, travel lanes will be 11 feet wide. For now, they are 10 feet wide and will remain that width until near the end of construction, Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman Sandra Mancil said.

The outside lanes will remain closed for the duration of construction, according to project administrator Tony George of Consor Engineering.

Concrete separators will be formed and poured between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., with work starting in the southbound lanes and later shifting to the northbound lanes.

During the day, the entire roadway will have one lane of northbound traffic, one lane of southbound traffic and a center turn lane.

During nighttime work, all traffic will shift to two lanes in the area where work is being done, returning to the three-lane configuration for morning traffic.

Starting in October, transportation officials will measure traffic speeds and volumes on Florida Avenue and nearby streets for a year.

After that comes a decision on whether to make the road diet permanent with wider sidewalks and landscaping. The decision will be made by the Lakeland City Commission with input from the Florida Department of Transportation, which is funding the project.