New barrier to reduce pedestrian deaths in Pinellas County

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Reducing pedestrian deaths is the goal of a project along parts of Highway 19 in Pinellas County.

Crews are adding a concrete top to the existing wall, in the median of the 6-lane highway.

“There’s definitely been some issues. People trying to cross the highway,” said Dave Davis, of Auto Wize Auto Sales.

From his used car dealership on Highway 19, he watches as vehicles whiz by at freeway speeds.

He’s also seen accidents where people on foot try to cross three lanes, hop the barrier and cross 3 more.

He remembers a fatal crash about 2 years ago. “Somebody was trying to cross like 11, 12 o’clock at night and of course we weren’t here.  We come in in the morning and all the neighbors were telling us what happened. Somebody tried and didn’t make it,” said Davis.

Now, a Florida Department of Transportation contractor is raising the middle barrier, almost doubling it. The project starts at Whitney Road to the north and extends south to 66th Street North.

The idea is to deter pedestrians from crossing the six-lane, high-speed roadway. To get over it now, you’d have to vault over. That’s the idea.

“It probably slows down the pedestrians crossing. It’s probably bad for us as a business owner.  People driving south can no longer see cars displayed on 19 for sale,” said Davis.

But worth it, Davis says, to save lives.

To get the job done, the contractor is closing lanes at night. But that should stop when this $743,000 project is finished, which should be soon.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

April 24 2021 08:00 am

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