Florida Department of Transportation eyes changes to Gandy Blvd. in Pinellas Park

Plans are only in design stage.

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - Drivers on Gandy Blvd. just west of I-275, move at a pretty good clip. But the light at Grande Ave. disrupts that flow.

One option to change that would be an elevated interchange to eliminate the signal.

"I think it's a great idea.  This intersection has always been a bottleneck," said driver Betty Barney of Pinellas Park.

Seth Brown of St. Petersburg echoed her thought.

"It's horrible traffic. It would be nice if there was something that cut a couple lights out of this area," Brown said.

There's little doubt some drivers embrace the idea.  

But not everyone is sold; some actually prefer another plan the DOT is considering, basically expanding the intersection and adding lanes without elevating it.

"When you raise the highway and people have to make an extra step to get to someplace, they're less inclined to do it," said Tim Caddell with the City of Pinellas Park.

That same stretch of Gandy is also home to a new Wawa store. The company spent more than $1 million to develop the property.

Apartments, businesses and other new construction projects are contributing to growth in the area and would be impacted by changes to the intersection.

Kris Carson with FDOT said, "We are looking at both options, elevated and at-grade.  We are also working with the locals to get their input and come up with the best solution for the area."

"Every project that DOT does anywhere has two sides to it.  There's their goal of moving traffic and making things flow;  and there's the concerns of who's already there and what happens in the area," explained Caddell.

Elevated roadways certainly limit business opportunities below.  In the end, each person makes their own choice.

"Well, if I were to choose between driving through or coming in, I would drive through," said Barney.

Caddell encourages people to educate themselves on potential road projects.  

"Everybody needs to know what's going on and how it's going to affect them and to voice their opinions.  If you wait until the barricades go up, it's too late to change a project."

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