GULF COVE — Charlotte County and state traffic engineers are trying to determine whether a traffic light is needed at an intersection of State Road 776 near Englewood.
Many who travel through the intersection say it’s long overdue.
The junction of State Road 776 with Gulfstream and Winchester boulevards stays busy, even in the off-season.
S.R. 776, also known as South McCall Road, is four lanes of 55 mph traffic.
The road to the south is Gulfstream Boulevard, which sees traffic to and from the Home Depot store and West Charlotte Mini-Transfer and Recycling Center, as well as being a collector road for much of the Englewood East and Rotonda West subdivisions.
North of the state road, during the school year, parents drop off and pick up their children at Myakka River Elementary School on Willmington Boulevard, which is about a half-mile away. It’s also a well-traveled collector road for Englewood East and even the Gulf Cove subdivision.
Charlotte County Commissioner Bill Truex has been working with Florida Department of Transportation officials to get a traffic signal at the intersection.
FDOT performed a study in 2013 and found the intersection failed to meet the standards to warrant a traffic signal. The county hired Faller, Davis & Associates consulting engineers to undertake a new study to determine whether a traffic signal is warranted.
“There are nine signal warrants listed in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices,” Public Works spokeswoman Tracy Doherty said. “The factors determining the satisfaction of the nine signal warrants include traffic volumes, pedestrian volumes, traffic signal systems, accidents and roadway networks.”
As part of FDOT requirements for the new Gulfstream-Willmington intersection study, the engineers will evaluate accident reports from Jan. 1, 2015, to Dec. 31, 2019.
Transportation officials know the Gulfstream-Willimington intersection will need a traffic signal eventually.
“At this point, the Long Range Transportation Plan is looking on improving S.R. 776 and the intersections,” said Gary Harrell, director of the Charlotte County-Punta Gorda Metropolitan Planning Organization. The MPO oversees the allocation of Charlotte County’s share of federal and state transportation funds.
“There has been and will be much growth in the corridor,” Harrell said. “The Gulfstream intersection is one of the prominent intersections being looked at by county Public Works staff and FDOT.”
Unrelated to the possible traffic study, state Transportation aDepartment has contracted a paving company to repave several miles of State Road 776, from Sunnybrook Boulevard to the Gulf Cove Publix shopping center. Work is already underway on the median in front of the Publix, and motorists are urged to use caution.