Burbank/Douglas Road project suffers delay, but Phase 1 is underway

The Burbank Road extension project will see both sides of the street currently separated by railroad tracks reconnected as well as other cosmetic and infrastructure improvements made to the area.

After learning in March 2016 the state budget included $1.5 million for the design and construction of the Burbank Road/Douglas Road Improvement Project, the Oldsmar City Council approved a $120,000 contract with a local consultant to design the project a few months later.

A year ago, Public Works Director nan Bennett updated the council on the status of the work, which will connect the Cypress Lakes Industrial Park with three main roads in the area—Tampa Road, Race Track Road and Forest Lakes Boulevard—and also include structural and cosmetic upgrades in the area.

Last Tuesday, Bennett came before the council for another status report on the project, where she explained that shortly after her previous update, the project experienced a delay due to the location of a gas main at the site.

A screenshot from the PowerPoint presentation on the Burbank/Douglas Roads project.

“Right after I gave that update, we received some additional information that identified a conflict between our road plans and an existing Florida Gas and Transmission gas main,” she said on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

“So, there’s been some delay in the project…but I think we’re finally back on track.”

Bennett said they spent several months trying to get the problem resolved, and added the company is in the process of relocating the gas main.

She then went on to detail the history and future of the project via PowerPoint presentation.

“The purpose of this project is to provide additional access, and safety and capacity, along Douglas and Burbank roads,” Bennett explained.

“This will help improve our entrance to the Cypress Lakes Industrial Park. It will add bus stops and extend the Oldsmar Trail System through there.

She added the project “also will increase the safety and capacity by helping to repave and widen Douglas Road, improve the drainage in the area and will add sidewalks, turn lanes, signage and lighting.”

A screenshot from the PowerPoint presentation on the Burbank/Douglas Roads project.

The project will be broken into three phases, according to Bennett: Phase 1 includes the Burbank Road extension over the CSX railroad tracks; Phase 2 would encompass the Douglas Road Trail and will involve building a trail extension over a culverted ditch; and Phase 3 incorporates Douglas Road improvements from Commerce Boulevard to Race Track Road.

Bennett said they have made the most progress on the Burbank Road phase, which in addition to the extension will feature additional trail and sidewalks, storm water considerations as well as utilities, signage and lighting upgrades.

To date, the city has awarded the design contract, held a public meeting and completed 90 percent of the design plans.

A star marks the spot on this Google Maps screenshot where an extension will connect the two sides of Burbank Road in Oldsmar, ultimately bridging the gap caused by the existing CSX railroad tracks.

After advertising the bids for the project, work on Phase 1 of the project should get underway in July, with a completion date sometime in the winter of 2017/18.

Eager to get the work underway, Council member Jerry Beverland asked if there was anything they could do to speed the process along.

Jerry Beverland.

However, Bennett and City Attorney Tom Trask said procuring grants and permits and designing the project is time-consuming work that can’t really be rushed, much to Beverland’s chagrin.

“This thing has been going on for years and years,” the 84-year-old longtime local lawmaker said.

“In fact, I thought I would pass away before it ever happened.”

Mayor Doug Bevis said that the discovery of the gas main was something that was “out of their control,” and Bennett said she hoped to have a key permit secured from the railroad company in May.

“We have strong hopes and plans to be done next year, about this time next year, completely with the construction on Phase 1,” she said.

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