One of the most congested areas around our region—and a common location for car accidents—is the intersection of University Parkway and Interstate 75. If you drive anywhere near this intersection, you are aware that the left-hand turn lanes from University to the freeway seriously get backed up, as well as the vehicles exiting the highway.
Because of the growing number of tourists visiting this area, coupled with thousands of new homes to be built—and a new mall to be completed in October—the traffic concerns and potential for traffic accidents continue to be a huge concern.
About 57,000 vehicles enter I-75 from this parkway every day and approximately 28,000 vehicles exit the interstate onto University Parkway, according to Florida Department of Transportation. Unfortunately, these numbers are just going to rise when the megamall opens.
While it seems like everyone agrees that something needs to be done to help the traffic conditions in this key transportation corridor, nothing is being done just yet. Part of the problem is that the corridor borders the Sarasota-Manatee County border, so money and politics are among some of the problems holding off a much needed fix.
To help ease the long waits at red lights and intersection bottleneck, state highway planners proposed a diamond interchange that would be a first for Florida, but it would cost $58 million, and Sarasota County officials believe the new concept would confuse drivers. Any driver confusion could lead to more motor vehicle accidents and traffic delays.
While improvements to this interchange is definitely needed to ease congestion and reduce crashes, it appears any roadway changes may be years away—leaving motorists in Bradenton and Sarasota to deal with the heavy congestion on University Parkway and I-75.