Clearwater, Florida -- Pinellas County and the state are both making changes to a dangerous intersection where a school crossing guard was killed in a crash two months ago.
On May 20, retired police officer and crossing guard Doug Carey was killed after a man ran a red light causing a three-car crash at the intersection of Gulf to Bay Boulevard and Belcher Road in Clearwater.
Local leaders demanded safety changes be made.
"It's very sad. It's unfortunate someone has to lose their life in order to get this kind of attention," says driver Brian Kelly of Pinellas Park.
IMPROVEMENTS:FDOT plans changes to intersection
10 News has been following the City of Clearwater, Pinellas County and Florida Department of Transportation's review of the problems. Wednesday, FDOT released its final report.
The state and Pinellas are making changes to improve safety at Gulf to Bay and Belcher.
"This is definitely a priority intersection," says FDOT spokeswoman Kris Carson.
One improvement has already been made: The addition of a flashing yellow left turn light off Belcher into Publix.
Some of the results are prompting immediate changes. The school district is adding another bus stop, north of Gulf to Bay, and pulling crossing guards, so students don't have to walk across the busy road.
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FDOT will eventually take down the school crossing signs, but not until after school starts.
"We want to be cautious, and if there are still students crossing we want to make sure the signs are still there, so the drivers are aware and will pay attention," Carson said.
Drivers will have to wait months to see some upgrades, while other changes won't happen until 2016.
"I know it's always congested and there's a lot of traffic," Kelly said.
A lot of Pinellas drivers know to beware of the intersection at Belcher and Gulf to Bay in Clearwater.
"There's a lot of traffic, the lights hold too long for one," said driver Jonathan Horton from Largo. "I try not to come this way, especially during rush hour. It's too much traffic. It takes too long to get home."
"There are car accidents, people plowing through the red light, T-boning one another," said driver Randall Mitchell of Clearwater.
In the next month or two, FDOT plans to repaint worn crosswalks.
The state agency will also replace a sign at the crosswalk that confuses pedestrians. People aren't sure which button to push to cross Belcher Road or Gulf to Bay Boulevard.
In addition, FDOT will move red light camera signs and street name signs farther from the intersection to give drivers more warning.
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"There are definitely big issues and really what there is, there's congestion going on and there are frustrated drivers," Carson said. "So, they are taking chances, and we don't want them to do that."
In October, the county hopes to roll out new signal timing software.
In the spring of 2016, a resurfacing project will also add or improve turn lanes.
Drivers can't wait. "Once it gets done, hopefully it'll be better," Kelly said.
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