Detours at DeSoto Road

County public information officials said only the northbound lanes of Sebring Parkway will close for six weeks for road construction. Northbound motorists will need to turn east onto Desoto Road, north on DeSoto City Road, west on Peters Road, north on Orange Blossom Avenue, west on Howard Street, south on Rainbow Avenue and then west on Youth Care Lane to get back to Sebring Parkway.

SEBRING — If you want to use Sebring Parkway north from DeSoto Road to Youth Care Lane you’ll need another route for the next six weeks.

Either that, or you will need to navigate narrow residential streets to the east of the construction zone. County public information officials advise local residents to be patients and drivers of large rigs to find another route altogether, such as Sebring Drive/Alt. 27 at the Southgate Publix Plaza north to Lakeview Drive.

For the next six weeks, if weather and logistics cooperate, contract road crews will work the northbound lane of the existing roadway and dig down through the eastside embankment to install the new northbound roadway and the grass median between the north and south lanes.

It actually started on Thursday, and anyone who lives in the area — especially those in the adjacent Francis II Mobile Home Park — will want to navigate around the area. Residents there have a west entrance on DeSoto Road, away from the intersection with the Parkway. Residents on Youth Care Lane might consider entering or leaving home through neighborhoods between them and Kenilworth Boulevard.

Only the northbound lanes will be closed, public information officials said. Northbound traffic will want to detour east onto Desoto Road, turn north on DeSoto City Road, west on Peters Road, north on Orange Blossom Avenue, west on Howard Street, south on Rainbow Avenue and then west on Youth Care Lane to get back to Sebring Parkway. The detour will be marked.

It’s part of the traffic rerouting plan devised by Bergeron Land Development Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Highlands County Road and Bridge Department and the City of Sebring.

In addition to milling the road, Bergeron may also be adding striping. All motorists, southbound as well as northbound, are advised to use caution and follow all traffic signs.

The contract for construction runs into 2023, but Highlands County Engineer Clinton Howerton Jr. has said he doesn’t think it will take that long. It involves widening the road from two to four lanes from Youth Care Lane to U.S. 27, improving intersections at DeSoto Road and at U.S. 27, installing drainage improvements and relocating utilities and power lines.

{div class=”nb-asciiviewer-content”}Phase 2 will also get its own roundabout, the third in the parkway system and the ninth in the county, at the northwest corner of the Highlands Regional Medical Center campus. It would need to handle an average of 7,000 daily trips on the Parkway from U.S. 27 to DeSoto Road, and a 20-year projected traffic volume of 20,000 average daily trips, according to J.D. Langford, assistant county engineer and project manager for Sebring Parkway Phases 2A/2B.

Langford has said the Engineering Department’s signal consultant for the U.S. 27/Parkway intersection is working with the Florida Department of Transportation to time signal green time for Parkway traffic to prevent backing up traffic from the highway to the roundabout, which must remain a free-flowing intersection to work properly.

Langford also said that doubling the number of travel lanes should add enough capacity to keep traffic flowing. Like other roundabouts in the county, drivers from all directions must stop on the edge of the roundabout. Whether entering the roundabout or the roadway, yield to traffic already there, then enter when it’s clear to their right, using the outside lane to exit the roundabout and the inside lane to circle it.