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Large Roundabout Going Up at Entrance to Lakeland, Fla.'s Airport

Wed May 04, 2022 - Southeast Edition
The Ledger

Construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Drane Field Road and Don Emerson Drive. (City of Lakeland photo)
Construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Drane Field Road and Don Emerson Drive. (City of Lakeland photo)

Building crews have started work on what is to become Lakeland, Fla.'s third and largest roundabout to date.

The Ledger, Lakeland's daily newspaper, reported May 3 that motorists will soon discover a new single-lane roundabout is being built at Drane Field Road and Don Emerson Drive, which is the entrance to Lakeland Linder International Airport. The existing lanes of Drane Field Road will remain open throughout construction.

"The area around the airport continues to grow and we have been discussing this roundabout for some time," Ryan Lazenby, the city's civil engineer manager, said in a statement. "The city of Lakeland and our partners at the Florida Department of Transportation [FDOT] are eager to see the construction of this project move forward to meet the increasing demands of the roadway."

He added that the roundabout is designed to improve traffic operations, roadway safety, and act as a gateway to the Lakeland Linder International Airport/Publix Super Markets corporate campus.

The project was approved by city commissioners in September 2019.

Lazenby told the Ledger that the finished roundabout will be larger than a similar one near Lake Hollingsworth. As Drane Field Road (FL Route 572) is part of the state's highway system, the circular junction must be able to handle big rigs up to 53 ft. in length.

The roundabout's design also will shift Drane Field Road slightly to the north to allow adequate space for the circle, the Lakeland news source reported. Its individual lanes will curve slightly as they approach the junction to serve as a cue to drivers.

FDOT is contributing $2.2 million toward construction of the roundabout through a Joint Participating Agreement with Lakeland. The city has funded $750,000 for the project's design, construction engineering, and inspection phases.

The anticipated completion of the project is February 2023, although the Ledger noted that FDOT said that estimate may be adjusted to account for weather-related delays.

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