Thomas Drive CRA Update

by August 19, 2011 • 12 comments

The Thomas Drive CRA is rounding the final corner of construction.  This CRA has been really huge and is on schedule to be complete January 2012.  Construction began September 2009.  The CRA is responsible for upgrading our road infrastructure and has been successful in beautifying main corridors over the last few years.

Past CRA projects include R Jackson Blvd (Beckrich) and Churchwell Road

Improvements to the road, broken down by area

Front Beach Rd Middle Beach Rd, N Thomas Dr Intersection

  • They will completely redo the whole intersection, traffic lights and all
  • The new intersection will have an emphasis on pedestrian friendliness
    • They will redo some of the existing pedestrian islands
    • An additional pedestrian island will be added by Backyard Burger
    • Existing pedestrian islands will be beautified
  • The famous dedicated right turn lane from west-bound Front Beach Road that turns onto Middle Beach will be done away with, median curb and all
    • But, that lane will still be a turn only lane, just not dedicated
    • Actually, they will ad an additional right turn lane making the total number of right turn lanes from Front Beach to Middle Beach TWO
  • The right turn from North Thomas Drive onto Front Beach Road (by the Ripley’s museum) will be pulled back to make it a larger radius.
  • Pedestrian walkways will be very clearly marked
  • All utilities will be moved underground
  • Sidewalks will be installed
  • Street lamps will be installed
  • Landscaping

The Circle K Intersection of Front Beach Road

  • The plans include a dedicated Tram lane for the multi-model transportation device
  • Of course, all utilities will be moved underground
  • Sidewalks will be installed
  • Landscaping will be installed
  • There will be clearly marked crossing areas with pedestrian medians
  • There will be periodic cut-outs for the Tram loading and unloading stops

South Thomas Drive, North Thomas Drive Intersection

  • Located right by Alvin’s Island
  • Large retention pond and a cut through roadway behind Alvin’s
  • The retention pond will be designed to be a beautiful amenity
    • Sidewalks all around with sitting areas
    • Landscaped and lighted
    • It looks as thought there may be a little roadside parking for those that may want to enjoy
  • The roadway cut through will ease traffic onto North Thomas Drive
    • Intersection will be “signalized”
    • The main intersection will be moved from south of Alvin’s Island, to just north and behind it.
    • There will be a little right off-shoot to cover access still to boardwalk and the other “local” businesses.
    • The new intersection will have pedestrian walkways clearly marked
  • Alvin’s Island will actually be a little “island” surrounded by roadways

Retention Pond behind McDonalds

  • The retention pond will be large and considered and “amenity”
  • There will be paved walking paths around the pond
  • Landscaping and lighting around the pond
Current status of the project broken down by area

South Thomas Drive

  • Curbing is complete
  • Sidewalks should be installed in the next couple weeks
  • Once sidewalks are done, they’ll put down the limerock, then pave
  • All utilities are moved and operational underground
  • Paving should begin in the next couple weeks
  • Once paving is complete, they’ll shift traffic to do the other side of the road

The Circle K Intersection of Front Beach Road

  • All utilities are moved and operational underground
  • Doing night work from 8 pm to 8 am daily
  • Put much of the road work off until off season to alleviate traffic issues

South Thomas Drive, North Thomas Drive Intersection

  • All curbing work is done
  • They are ready to pave sidewalks
  • Limerock and road pavement will come next
  • Retention pond is complete
  • All utilities are underground
Photos of the project so far
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1 Linda August 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm

A big thanks for the update.


2 Linda August 20, 2011 at 9:26 am

Looking at photo 13, looks like telephone wires are not underground. Are these older photos?


3 Jason Koertge August 23, 2011 at 8:56 am

These were taken last week. I’m not sure what those poles or lines are for. I was told everything was operational underground, possibly they just haven’t taken those poles down yet?


4 Cathy August 20, 2011 at 9:31 am

Looks like the work is coming along nicely! It just takes time especially in area where there is heavy traffic…….
The sidewalks and street lamps are a “much” needed improvement…. they will be greatly appriciated.
Thank you for the update, I imagine when we are back down there (4) weeks there will be more progress completed.
Great Photos by the way,
Have a great Saturday!


5 Maureen August 20, 2011 at 10:49 am

what does CRA stand for, please?


6 Cathy August 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm

CRA (short for community redevelopment area)


7 Rick August 20, 2011 at 10:57 am

Thanks Jason,
Wow, what a slow project. Several of us living in this area have really been inconvenienced. The project does not look exactly like the original plans. Have changes been made? Are the plans available to study somewhere?


8 Jay August 22, 2011 at 8:56 am

What took sooooooo long for this project to be completed. This should have been a six month project. I understand the idea of giving the work to local companies however that shouldn’t be the case when a local company takes 6 times the norm to complete.


9 Greggt August 23, 2011 at 8:32 am

Well Jay I’m not in construction management and didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night but even I know with the scope of this project and still allow the businesses to continue to operate, 6 months is a pipe dream. While it has not been a speedy project, it has been on par with the bridge construction. If indeed they did use local companies, kudos to the CRA!
Does anyone know what has happened to the Hwy 79 project? I know some preliminary design work was done but have not heard anything else.


10 Jason Koertge August 23, 2011 at 8:55 am

I’m going to have to underscore Gregg’s comment. 6 months would never be a possibility for a project of this scope. Shoot, Churchwell took the better part of 18 months, and was much less complicated.

There are a variety of factors that are actually completely out of the city’s hands on this one – e.g. power, phone and other utilities.

Of course, let’s not forget about the enormous amount of traffic during the summer season. This is a main traffic corridor.

Nevertheless, it’s getting close. 3 months behind on a 24 month project isn’t bad.


11 Greggt August 23, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Hey Jason have you heard any more about the Hwy 79 intersection project?