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Most Dangerous Roads and Growth in Pinellas County
Pinellas County is home to beautiful beaches, historical landmarks, and the ever-trendy downtown St. Petersburg, all of which draw in thousands of tourists every year. In addition to so many visitors, the local population has grown to over 240,000, making it the fifth-largest city in Florida.
Tourism has always been invaluable for Pinellas County, and its beaches and cities have attracted many over the years. Its annual tourism draws in $10.3 billion for Pinellas each year. In 2017, the area saw 6.5 million overnight visitors, making it the leading destination of the Gulf Coast.
With such a mixed bag of snowbirds and people either making their home here or visiting for a short vacation, there is a range of drivers and pedestrians who all might have their own road rules and concepts in mind. Unfortunately, these styles can clash and lead to car accidents. Pinellas County is known for many positive things, but its road safety leaves much to be desired

Dangerous Roads in Pinellas County

The most infamous road in the county is the US 19, and for good reason. 8 out of the top 25 most dangerous intersections in Pinellas are on this North-South strip of road. The current top intersection for car crashes in the county resides at US 19 and Tampa Road. It is the fourth most congested intersection in the county. 

Coming in close behind are I-275 and Ulmerton Road, which see a high rate of accidents as well. Pinellas tops all other counties for the density of its fatalities, with a staggering 4.57 deaths per mile. Notable roads where crashes occur are:

  • S. 19 and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard in Clearwater
  • S. 19 and Tampa Road in Palm Harbor
  • Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and South Belcher Road in Clearwater
  • S. 19 and Curlew Road in Dunedin
  • Park Boulevard and Starkey Road
  • 66th Street and Ulmerton Road

Population Growth and Demographics

Pinellas County has seen a steady increase in population over the last decade, growing from 916,542 in 2010 to 974,996 in 2019. This growth has made Pinellas county the 6th largest county in Florida.

Current population projections estimate a 7% increase starting in 2016, soaring to over 1 million inhabitants by 2021. These are said to be mostly transplants, as there have been more people moving from out of county or state to Pinellas.

Pinellas County is also one of the few counties in Florida whose population is getting younger. Teen drivers have triple the fatal crash rate of older drivers, primarily attributed to their inexperience with road hazards and their higher risk of texting while driving, drinking while driving, less seat belt use, and other risky behaviors.

New Roads and Developments Planned for Pinellas County

With an ever-increasing population and a focus on being attractive to tourists, Pinellas County has kept a steady stream of construction running to make infrastructure improvements. There are a lot of bridge projects such as the Dunedin Causeway Bridges, where the county aims to improve the narrow, outdated structure. The 93-year-old bridge over Alligator Creek along Old Coachman Road in Clearwater is aimed to be replaced as well.

Some other road projects include:

  • 62nd Ave N. Traffic Corridor Study
  • 126th Ave N. PD&E Study
  • Countywide Paving Project
  • FDOT: Pinellas County Projects external website
  • Forest Lakes Blvd Reconstruction and Widening
  • Pavement Preservation Program
  • US Highway 19 N. Corridor Study

You can find all of the current projects for Pinellas County here.

The biggest road construction project in process in Pinellas County is the Gateway Expressway project. This massive project will create two new 4-lane elevated tolled roadways and connect the St. Pete Clearwater Airport (PIE) with I-275. The project consists of two components:  

  1. The construction of the Gateway Expressway, which will provide express connections from US 19 to I-275 and from the Bayside Bridge to I-275.
  2. The widening of I-275 to create express tolled lanes (one lane in each direction) from south of Gandy Boulevard to 4th Street North.

The good news is that the Gateway Expressway project should alleviate traffic and accidents around Ulmerton Road and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) Traffic Stats

The St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport boasts cheap flights and a large number of destinations, making it a popular point of departure or landing for many visitors and Pinellas residents.

In fact, in 2019 the airport recorded a 2% increase in traffic from 2018, with a whopping 2,288,692 total passengers coming and going. There was also an increase in 2019 domestic passengers of 12%, or up to 196,000. 2019 was the airport’s fifth consecutive year of growth, breaking a new record every year.

As a result, the airport has seen a heavy increase in traffic over the years without much expansion of its surrounding highways. Heavy congestion and stop-and-go traffic around the area can lead to an increase in car accidents, most often fender benders. The Gateway Expressway project is hopefully set to improve traffic flow and prevent congestion.

Personal Injury Law Firm in Tampa | Franco Law Group

Whether you are a snowbird, tourist, or resident in Pinellas County, Franco Law Group has the experienced attorneys to assist you with your next personal injury or social security legal issue. If you or a loved one is involved in an accident in Florida, then please contact us for legal assistance. We understand that vehicle accidents can be very stressful. Franco Law Group is here to help you figure out your next steps and assist you in any way we can. If you have any questions or would like to talk more about a recent car accident in Pinellas County, then please contact us at (813) 873-0180.

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