Out2News Traffic & Travel

19 Aug FDOT Logo

Treasure Coast Traffic Report Dec. 3 through Dec. 10, 2021

MARTIN & ST. LUCIE – Treasure Coast traffic will be affected this week by ongoing construction projects and maintenance work in Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) officials report. Please note, any full road, ramp or bridge closures have been highlighted below.

CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS MARTIN COUNTY
(Hobe Sound, Palm City, Stuart, Jensen Beach, Jupiter Island, Port Salerno, Rio, Indiantown, Town of Sewalls Point)

1. I-95 Lighting and Roadway Improvements Project from South of the State Road 706 / Indiantown Road Interchange to the County Road 708 / SE Bridge Road Interchange
Description: This 11.59-mile I-95 improvements project started September 9, 2020 in Jupiter and Hobe Sound. Work includes installing new roadway lighting with LED luminaires, replacing the high mast lighting system with a conventional LED roadway lighting system, extending the northbound I-95 merge lane just north of Indiantown Road, extending the deceleration distances for the I-95 northbound to westbound Indiantown Road exit ramp and the I-95 southbound to eastbound Indiantown Road exit ramp, and installing wrong way vehicle detection systems at the Indiantown Road and SE Bridge Road I-95 interchanges and new advanced warning signage.
Cost/Completion: $12.3 million. Completion is expected in spring 2022.
Traffic Impact:
• The shoulder in both directions of I-95 will be intermittently closed Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through December 2021 for temporary asphalt placement, and conduit and light pole foundations. During this time the exit ramp will still be open as motorists can use the inside left lane.
• One lane in either direction of I-95 at the Indiantown Road interchange may be closed Sunday, Dec. 5 through Thursday, Dec. 9 night from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for roadway work.
• The outside ramp lane of the northbound I-95 to eastbound Indiantown Road exit ramp will be closed Monday, Dec. 6 through Friday, Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to install light pole foundations.
• One lane in each direction of Indiantown Road from the Turnpike entrance/exit to Island Way will be closed Monday, Dec. 6 through Friday, Dec. 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to install light pole foundations and shoulder widening. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.

2. State Road 714/SW Martin Highway Widening Project
Description: This 1.127-mile widening project began on Aug. 6, 2021. Project improvements include widening SR 714/SW Martin Highway from a two-lane undivided rural roadway to a four-lane divided urban roadway, widening the bridge over Florida’s Turnpike, constructing seven-foot buffered bike lanes and six-foot sidewalks on both sides of the roadway, and installing signing, signalization, and lighting upgrades.
Cost/Completion: $21.3 million. Completion is expected in fall 2024.
Traffic Impact:
• Day-time lane closures will occur along project side streets from Monday, Dec. 6 through Friday, Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and nightly Sunday, Dec. 5 through Friday, Dec.12 from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. for temporary pavement installation and low profile wall installation at the following locations:
o One lane in each direction of SW Citrus Boulevard at SR 714/SW Martin Highway
o One lane in each direction of SW 42nd Avenue at SR 714/SW Martin Highway
o One lane in each direction of SW Deggeller Court at SR 714/SW Martin Highway
o One lane in each direction of SW Leighton Farm Avenue at SR 714/SW Martin Highway
• The westbound bike lanes on SR 714/SW Martin Highway are closed. Cyclist and motorists should share the road. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.

ST. LUCIE COUNTY
(City of Port St. Lucie, Port St. Lucie, White City, City of Fort Pierce)

3. Midway Road Widening Project, from S. 25th Street to U.S. 1
Description: This 1.8-mile project includes: reconstructing the existing two-lane Midway Road to a four-lane, divided highway with a raised median; installing a new signal at Sunrise Boulevard; constructing a new bridge over the North Fork St. Lucie River; constructing a 6-foot sidewalk on the north side and a 12-foot multi-purpose trail on the south side Midway Road; constructing 4-foot bike lanes on both sides of the roadway; reconstruction of S. 25th Street approximately 1000’ to the south & north of Midway Road; reconstruction of Sunrise Boulevard from W. 1st Street to Charlotta Street; reconstruction of Oleander Avenue from W. 2nd Street to Merritt’s Ditch; drainage improvements, including constructing 6 retention ponds at 5 locations; and signage, signalization, and lighting improvements.
Cost/Completion: $26.8 million. Completion is expected in fall 2021.
Traffic Impact:
• Daytime lane closures will occur along the project Monday, Dec. 6 through Friday, Dec. 10 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for paving at the following locations:
 One lane in either direction of Midway Road between U.S. 1 and 25th Street
Turning lanes may be intermittently closed, and motorists will still be able to make the turn using the through lane. While paving through the intersections, short-term intermittent closures may occur, and motorists will be temporarily diverted to side streets. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.

4. Kings Highway Widening Project, from South of State Road 70 to North of the I-95 Overpass
Description: Kings Highway / State Road 713 is being widened from south of State Road 70 to north of the I-95 overpass in the City of Ft. Pierce and unincorporated St. Lucie County. The improvements on this 3.417-mile project include: reconstructing the existing two-lane undivided Kings Highway with a newly constructed four‐lane divided roadway, relocating Canal No. 40 and Canal No. 32E to accommodate widening to the west, realigning Kings Highway at the intersection with Okeechobee Road which will improve the existing connection with the Turnpike, replacing existing culverts/swales and installing a closed drainage system and retention ponds, installing a new highway lighting system, and upgrading signalization with vehicle detection devices and ITS cameras.
Cost/Completion: $45.2 million. Completion is expected in fall 2022.
Traffic Impact:
• The speed limit on Kings Highway from south of Okeechobee Road / State Road 70 to north of the I-95 overpass has been temporarily reduced from 50 MPH to 40 MPH. This speed limit reduction will be in place through the end of the project.
• One lane in either direction of Kings Highway may be intermittently closed Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through fall 2022 for roadway work. Two-way traffic will be maintained by a flag crew. During this time, intermittent side street closures may occur, maintaining two-way traffic at all times.
• Southbound Kings Highway just north of Okeechobee Road is shifted to the west through winter 2021 to facilitate roadway reconstruction.
• Southbound and northbound Kings Highway at the Orange Avenue intersection is reduced to one lane in each direction through winter 2021, temporarily removing the designated turning lanes, to facilitate roadway reconstruction.
• Eastbound Orange Avenue just west of Kings Highway is reduced to one through lane through winter 2021 to facilitate roadway reconstruction.
• Northbound and southbound traffic on Kings Highway from just north of Crossroads Parkway to south of Orange Avenue is shifted to the west on the newly constructed road to facilitate reconstruction of Kings Highway.
• One lane in either direction of Kings Highway from Okeechobee Road to north of the I-95 bridge will be closed intermittently on Sunday, Dec. 5 through Friday, Dec. 10 for roadway work. Traffic will be maintained by a flag crew.
• The eastbound turn lane into the Turnpike entrance from Okeechobee Road and the northbound thru lane coming out of the Turnpike toll area will be closed on Monday, Dec. 6 through Tuesday, Dec. 7 from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for barrier wall removal and striping for Phase 2 traffic shift.
• One lane in either direction of Kings Highway from Okeechobee Road to south of Pruitt Research Center Road will be closed Monday, Dec. 6 through Tuesday, Dec. 7 from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for barrier wall removal and striping for Phase 2 traffic shift.
• Advanced Notice: Beginning Monday, Dec. 6, traffic on Kings Highway between the State Road 70/Okeechobee Road intersection and Pruitt Research Center Road will be shifted to the newly constructed southbound lanes, to allow for widening operations and new northbound lane construction through early summer 2022. One lane of traffic will remain open in each direction, separated by double yellow lines (no passing zone). Please note, if the traffic shift does not occur Monday, Dec. 6, it’s expected to be completed by Friday, Dec. 10. Please see the attached flyer. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.

5. U.S. 1/State Road 5 and State Road 70 Advanced Transportation Management Center (ATMS) Improvements Design-Build Project
Description: Construction on the U.S. 1/State Road (SR) 5 and SR 70 (Okeechobee Road/Virginia Avenue) ATMS improvements design-build project started September 29, 2020. The improvements to this project include installing closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and Bluetooth detection devices that will transmit to the Traffic Management Center at the following locations: U.S. 1 from Savanna Club Boulevard to Kings Highway/SR 713, and SR 70 from Kings Highway/SR 713 to U.S. 1.
Cost/Completion: $6.4 million. Completion is expected in fall 2021.
Traffic Impact:
• All lanes open. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.

6. U.S. 1/State Road (SR) 5 Improvement Projects
Description: Construction on the U.S. 1 improvement projects from south of Port St. Lucie Boulevard/SR 716 to Rio Mar Drive and at Virginia Avenue/SR 70 started November 19, 2020. The improvements under this contract consist of milling and resurfacing the existing roadway and restriping to provide 6‐foot buffered bicycle lanes on U.S. 1 from south of SR 716 to Rio Mar Drive, and widening the existing roadway in the NW corner of the U.S. 1 and SR 70 intersection to accommodate a southbound right-turn lane.
Cost/Completion: $7,223,963. Completion is expected in spring 2022.
Traffic Impact:
• One lane in each direction of U.S. 1 from Port St. Lucie Boulevard to Rio Mar Drive and along frontage/side streets parallel to the corridor will be intermittently closed Monday, Dec. 6 through Friday, Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and nightly from Sunday, Dec. 5 through Thursday, Dec. 9 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. for paving and sidewalk repair work. Access to motorists will still be provided. Law enforcement officers may be on site as needed to help guide the flow of traffic. During this time, sections of the sidewalk will be closed. Pedestrian detour signage will be in place, directing pedestrians to the nearest signalized intersection.
• One southbound lane of U.S. 1 at Virginia Avenue will be closed Monday, Dec. 6 through Friday, Dec. 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. for sidewalk repair work. During this time, sections of the sidewalk will be closed. Detour signage will be in place, directing pedestrians to the nearest signalized intersection. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.

7. SW Port St. Lucie Boulevard Widening Project, from South of SW Alcantarra Boulevard to South of SW Darwin Boulevard
Description: This 0.713-mile widening project will begin on Monday, December 13, 2021, in the City of Port St. Lucie. The City of Port St. Lucie, as Project Sponsor, requested the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District Four design and construct this project through application to the St. Lucie Transportation Planning Organization and City of Port St. Lucie Resolution 18-R42. Project improvements include widening SW Port St. Lucie Blvd. from a two-lane undivided roadway to a four-lane divided roadway, installing three new signalized intersections with mast arms at SW Alcantarra Blvd., SW Tulip Blvd., and SW Tunis Blvd., adding a right turn lane on SW Port St. Lucie Blvd.’s north approach to SW Alcantarra Blvd., constructing an 18’ wide raised median with curb and gutter, upgrading crosswalks and curb ramps to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, constructing 8’-10’ wide sidewalks on both sides of SW Port St. Lucie Blvd. for pedestrian and bicycle use, and 6’ wide sidewalks on side streets, installing a new closed drainage system, signing, pavement markings, signalization, and lighting upgrades, and landscaping for the median including trees, irrigation and stamped concrete.
Cost/Completion: $11,570,179. Completion is expected spring 2024.
Virtual Public Meeting & In-person Open House: A Virtual Public Meeting and In-person Construction Open House will be held on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. Please see below and flyer attached for more information.
• The Virtual Public Meeting will be held from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Please use the following link to register: https://bit.ly/PSL-VPM, or dial 415-655-0052, Access Code: 599-294-550. A brief presentation followed by questions and comments will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and again from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Please note, questions and comments may be submitted via the online chat for the project team to address directly.
• The In-person Construction Open House will be held from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the City of Port St. Lucie City Hall, 121 SW Port St. Lucie Boulevard, Port St. Lucie, FL 34984. This meeting will have an informal open house format, with project representatives available to answer questions and address comments at any time during the meeting. The latest social distancing guidelines will be followed. For more information, please contact Community Outreach Specialist Samantha Kayser at 772-579-5479.

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Lane Closures

SE Country Club Drive Lane Closure

21 Oct 24 Dec Country Club

On Wednesday, October 20th, Pike Electric on behalf of Florida Power & Light will begin installation of new utility poles and transferring utilities on SE Country Club Drive & SE Turtle Creek Drive. This work will necessitate intermittent lane and sidewalk closures on SE Country Club Drive from SE Little Club Way North to SE Point Terrace. Work is anticipated to be complete on December 24th.

Motorists are encouraged to find detours, exercise caution, and expect delays.

The Martin County Road Conditions Map is available via any mobile device or desktop with internet access. To view all county lane/road closures, visit: http://conezone.martin.fl.us

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Retirement Travelers North Dakota Travel Guide

Cascading waterfalls, roaming wildlife and a view that stretches out over 500,000 acres – this is the country’s most-visited national park. Vacationers often start in Gatlinburg and make their way to one of the park’s famous paths where they can find everything they’ve been looking for. A hike through the Great Smoky Mountains – whether it be on the Appalachian Trail itself, a wildflower walk, or a trip to one of the many waterfalls – will leave you with a smile and a lasting impression. Because the experience changes season to season, there’s always a new scene to come explore.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an American national park in the southeastern United States, with parts in Tennessee and North Carolina. The park straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The park contains some of the highest mountains in eastern North America, including Clingmans Dome, Mount Guyot, and Mount Le Conte. The border between the two states runs northeast to southwest through the center of the park. The Appalachian Trail passes through the center of the park on its route from Georgia to Maine. With 12.5 million visitors in 2019, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States.

As the most visited national park in the United States, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park anchors a large tourism industry based in Sevier County, Tennessee adjacent to the park. Major attractions include Dollywood, the second-most visited tourist attraction in Tennessee, Ober Gatlinburg, and Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. Tourism to the park contributes an estimated $2.5 billion annually into the local economy. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a major tourist attraction in the region. It was the most visited national park in 2019, with over 12.5 million recreational visitors (tourists). The recreational figure represents nearly twice as many tourists as the Grand Canyon, which received nearly 6 million visitors the same year. Surrounding towns, notably Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Townsend, Tennessee, and Cherokee, Sylva, Maggie Valley, and Bryson City, North Carolina, receive a significant portion of their income from tourism associated with the park.

The two main visitor centers inside the park are Sugarlands Visitors' Center near the Gatlinburg entrance to the park and Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, North Carolina, at the eastern entrance to the park. These ranger stations provide exhibits on wildlife, geology, and the history of the park. They also sell books, maps, and souvenirs.

There are 850 miles (1,370 km) of trails and unpaved roads in the park for hiking, including 70 miles (110 km) of the Appalachian Trail. Mount Le Conte is one of the most frequented destinations in the park. Its elevation is 6,593 feet (2,010 m), the third highest summit in the park and, measured from its base to its highest peak, the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River. Alum Cave Trail is the most heavily used of the five paths en route to the summit. It provides many scenic overlooks and unique natural attractions such as Alum Cave Bluffs and Arch Rock. Hikers may spend a night at the LeConte Lodge, located near the summit, which provides cabins and rooms for rent (except during the winter season). Accessible solely by trail, it is the only private lodging available inside the park.

The park's waters have long had a reputation for healthy trout activity as well as challenging fishing terrain. Brook trout are native to the waters, while both brown and rainbow were introduced to the area. Partially due to the fact of recent droughts killing off the native fish, there are strict regulations regarding how fishing may be conducted. Horseback riding (offered by the national park and on limited trails), bicycling (available for rent in Cades Cove) and water tubing are all also practiced within the park.

From late May to early June, the Elkmont area of the park hosts the peak display period for synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus), one of at least 19 species of fireflies that live in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They are the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns.

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Pet Travel Tips

Article & Photo by: Tawnya Sessions

Traveling and vacations are fun for the whole family, even your pets.

Pet Friendly Hotels
Before you book your vacation, make sure your preferred hotel allows pets. Most pet friendly hotels state that they allow pets on their websites. If you are not sure, call the hotel before reserving your room to make sure they allow dogs and cats.

Feed Your Pet at Least Two Hours Before Traveling
Whether you are traveling by car, plane or train, lessen the likelihood of motion sickness by feeding your pet at least two hours before you plan to leave for your trip. You should also make sure your pet uses the bathroom before traveling to prevent accidents.

Use Approved Pet Carriers
If you are driving to your destination, make sure your pet is secured in a standard, hard-sided pet carrier and that the pet carrier is secured by a seat belt. If you are flying or traveling by train, purchase a pet carrier that is USDA approved.

Schedule a Wellness Examination with our Veterinarian
If you are uncertain as to whether your pet is healthy enough to fly, go ahead and schedule a checkup with your veterinarian. At the time of your examination, they can administer any extra vaccinations, like kennel cough and Lyme disease, and they can microchip your pet.

Consider Pet Boarding
Sometimes, you are not able to travel with your pet. In these instances, the safest thing you can do is to schedule pet boarding. You can bring your pet's favorite food, toys and bedding to make your pet feel more comfortable.

How to Stay Comfortable on Long Drives

20 July Travel

Article by: Consumer Reports

Long car trips can literally be a pain. But you can remain physically comfortable on long drives with these tips.

Stay alert. Drowsy driving can be fatal. Don’t push yourself to drive late into the night, when you are usually asleep. Switch drivers if you start to fade. If you’re the only driver, get a hotel room.

Pull over every 2 to 3 hours. “Sitting too long is hard on the lower back due to that constant flexed position,” says Lynn Millar, Ph.D., chair of the department of physical therapy at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. It may compress the discs between your vertebrae, potentially leading to pain, numbness, or tingling in the legs. Your neck and hips could get tight, too. Getting out of the car and walking around a bit can help keep you comfortable on long drives.

Stretch your back. On your driving breaks, stand tall and circle your shoulders back five times. Then reach arms overhead and arch back slightly. Hold for 5 seconds, then lower arms and repeat once or twice.

Uncramp your legs. Try this calf and hip-flexor stretch: Stand with feet staggered in a lunge, left knee bent in front and right leg straight behind so that your heel touches the ground. With hands on hips (or holding on to something for balance), clench the right side of your gluteal muscles. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat.

Relax your shoulders. Keeping your chin parallel to the ground, slowly draw your head back as far as you can. You might feel a stretch along your upper spine and shoulders. Repeat six times.

Flex your feet. Trips longer than 4 hours increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis, a clot that forms, usually in the lower leg or thigh, says Mary Cushman, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. Stopping to walk around helps. Passengers in the car should do ankle rolls and alternate flexing and pointing their feet one at a time every half hour or so.

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Driving Tips to Help You Increase Gas Mileage

20 June Driving Tips 1

Article Courtesy of AAA

Your car isn’t the only factor that directly impacts how much gasoline you use (and pay for) each year—it’s also how you drive.

Fuel is the second biggest cost of owning a car, according to AAA research. But there are ways to use less. Simply driving sensibly—avoiding rapid acceleration and braking, for example—can save you up to 40 percent on gas in stop-and-go traffic, according to fueleconomy.gov.

Here are driving tips to help you increase gas mileage—which, in return, will save you money at the pump:

Accelerate gradually
Avoid “jackrabbit” starts, but don’t accelerate too slowly.

20 June Driving Tips 2

Pro tip: Drive like there’s an egg on the gas pedal—press evenly and gently on the accelerator to avoid breaking the egg.
Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. Reducing highway speeds by 5 to 10 mph can increase fuel economy by 7 to 14 percent, according to fueleconomy.gov.

Be consistent
Tests have shown that using cruise control when driving on level highway roads can save gas. That’s because maintaining a constant speed requires less accelerating and braking. Just remember to avoid using cruise control on wet or slippery roads.
Estimate how much gas your vehicle will use on a road trip with the AAA Gas Cost Calculator.

Lose unnecessary vehicle weight
Every pound of unnecessary stuff in your car reduces fuel economy, and rooftop carriers multiply the effect with additional wind resistance. If you’re not using that bike rack and don’t need that box of old books, leave them at home to increase gas mileage.

Anticipate stops
Stay aware of traffic ahead of you; when you anticipate you’ll need to stop, let your foot off the gas as early as possible (using brakes as necessary to let other motorists know your intentions). Time stoplights to maintain momentum and avoid unnecessary stop and go.

20 June Driving Tips 3

Pro-tip: Using a prepaid pass on toll roads can help avoid stops and increase gas mileage, too.

Avoid excessive idling
Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and whether you’re using the air conditioner, according to fueleconomy.gov. Avoid long warm-ups in the morning, and when safe to do so, shut off your engine if you’ll be stopped for more than a minute.

Combine errands into one trip
Getting more things done in one outing can help increase gas mileage. Also consider what time you’re heading out—avoiding stop-and-go rush hour traffic can save you time and money.

Bonus tip: Give your car some TLC

These don’t involve driving, but good habits in maintaining your car can help increase gas mileage. Reduce fuel economy by maintaining recommended tire pressure, keeping the air filter clean and replacing exhaust oxygen sensors before they fail.