Sarasota, Florida -- University Parkway is the dividing line between Manatee and Sarasota counties with housing to the east of I-75 and shopping to the west. Both industries are booming, but with growth comes growing pains.
University Parkway is filled with housing and shopping opportunities, but once on the road there's gridlock, especially during rush hour.
"It's bad," says motorist Parker Turner.
When heading east off Cooper Creek Road onto University Parkway, "Right here, the light takes 5 to 10 minutes," says another motorist.
Drivers say the traffic is just as bad heading west.
"It's only going to get worse," says Turner.
In October, University Town Center Mall with its 88,000 square feet of shopping opened across from other popular shopping centers.
"This has turned into one of the worse intersections in Sarasota. They need to do something with the new mall this is an absolute nightmare," says motorist Howard Chasolen.
Safety is an issue too with more cars on the road there seems to be more accidents. There have reportedly been more than 30 accidents last year near the I-75 and University Parkway interchange.
"It's definitely a concern. The roadways are near capacity, if not certain movements are at capacity," says James Harriott, an engineer with Sarasota County.
FDOT suggests turning the I-75 University Parkway exit into a Diverging Diamond Interchange the first in Florida about a 50 million dollar project.
"It essentially takes the turning movements out of the traffic signal gives you more green times of east and west movement through the interchange," says Harriott.
But that interchange project is at least 20 years away and Sarasota county leaders oppose it. They suggest an overpass just south of University similar to the one on Proctor Road.
Meanwhile, motorists depend on recent road expansions like Cattleman Road for some relief. Harriott says Lakewood Ranch Boulevard will also be expanded to Fruitville Road.
All helpful but as the traffic gets worse some motorists have their own solution.
"I'm going to stay on the other side of the highway," Turner says.
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