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Up to Speed: Why some call US-19 the 'forgotten highway'

The Valspar Championship brings more traffic to US-19, but business overall along the corridor is lacking. Improvements are underway to fix that.

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — If you’ve ever driven along US-19, the stop-and-go traffic might cause you a lot of frustration. 

It used to be worse — the highway, running north and south from Manatee to Citrus County in the Tampa Bay area was often filled with brake lights until the state put in overpasses years ago.  

And in the early 2000’s the portion of the road through Pasco and Pinellas counties was named among the most dangerous in the U.S., mainly because of its pedestrian-related crashes.  

It's why FDOT continues efforts for road improvement. Right now, there are more than 20 road improvement projects underway

The highway used to be a retail corridor, but it's now filled with gas stations, storage units and many empty storefronts — not a huge draw for jobs or boosting the economy. That's the reason why some call it the "forgotten highway."

Events like the Valspar Championship help revive the area.  

US-19 is the main route to the Innisbrook Golf Resort where the PGA tournament is taking place. It’s said to have a $50 million economic impact.  

Once you get to Valspar, parking starts at $10 a day and must be purchased in advance. There are shuttle buses and valet parking as well.  

Expect heavy traffic along Belcher Road, Klosterman Road and Palm Harbor Boulevard for the event as well.

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