The Florida Department of Transportation has concluded that a traffic signal is warranted outside the north entrance of Bonita Bay.
The approval is just the most recent dealing with dangerous median openings along US 41, which became more precarious when the road was widened, encouraging higher speeds, a few years back. Others include a signal approved last year near the Riverview corporate center, and signals near Tuffy and at Woods Edge Parkway. Recently, FDOT decreased the speed limit along portions of the road.
For most of the year traffic is relatively light outside Bonita Bay’s north gate. However, during the winter, the median opening is often a traffic mosh pit, with cars and trucks angled every which way. Frequently, cars protrude into the travelled path of US 41.
There were four collisions in 2014, and three in 2013, according to the signal warrant analysis prepared for FDOT.
The traffic counts, conducted in the middle of season this year, show 950 cars leaving Bonita Bay’s north gate daily, with 1,600 leaving Limetree Park Drive on the east side.
Although a signal has been approved, there is no assurance it will be installed. Under FDOT guidelines the choice to proceed, along with the financial obligation for design and installation, rests with property owners on either side of the intersection, since both Bonita Bay’s North Bay Drive and Limetree Park Drive are private roads.
“The cost of a signal can range between $250,000 and $300,000,” wrote FDOT’s Tanya King in an email to the Spotlight. “Typically the design and construction of a signal should take no more than six to nine months but it can take longer than nine months.”