Delayed construction near UF’s on-campus Lakeside Residential Complex has disrupted students’ focus and access to campus since August, but the project is finally complete, one and a half months late.
Near Lake Alice and Lakeside, construction of a roundabout in the intersection of Radio Road and Museum Road that began in May is now complete. Stuart Cullen, a UF construction manager working on the project, said the $1.9 million project could bring more efficient traffic patterns and prevent flooding during major storms. But the construction proved problematic for some students living at the complex.
The construction was initially set to be completed by the beginning of August, before students arrived on campus, Cullen said. However, due to long periods of rain, the project was extended to Oct. 5.
The crew didn’t finish until Oct. 9, he said.
“With large amounts of rain flowing into one of the lowest pieces of campus, a lot of water goes there,” said Cullen.
Cullen said the project resulted from a January 2019 traffic study that evaluated how efficient transportation is in the area.
The study showed that there were significant delays turning left from Radio Road to Museum Road, Cullen said. A roundabout was the solution, as it would reduce delays for all transportation going through the area.
In addition to traffic flow, Facilities Services suggested adding a new storm overflow near Lake Alice to prevent flooding. Cullen’s team constructed a major pipeline underneath the road so it wouldn’t be flooded, but instead go downstream.
Larger sidewalks, additional bike paths and enhanced bus shelters were also added, he said.
Lauren Novak, a 19-year-old UF health sciences sophomore, said she wanted to move from Weaver Hall to Lakeside for a quieter study space, as Lakeside is an apartment-style dorm complex.
But after she and her roommate arrived, it was clear that the construction would affect their transportation and living situations.
The noises of drills and machines permeated her building from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m on every day but Sunday, which affected her Zoom classes and homework. To focus, she started studying at Marston Library during the day, then returned home when the construction was over for the day. When the noise intensified, she contacted Cullen to complain about the noise.
“Recently the construction has gotten to the point where it’s hard for me to focus on my schoolwork, especially because of the noises and beeps,” Novak said.
The construction blocked off the intersection off of Museum Road, near the Baughman Center. The road block added about five to 10 minutes to her daily drive, which passes by the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science building and the Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium.
“Getting to see the beauty of campus is a blessing in disguise, despite the extra time it takes,” Novak said.
Now that the construction has been completed, Novak is relieved.
“I’m able to relax a bit more and really focus on my work.” After nearly two full months of construction, “it seems surreal to see an empty street with no construction vehicles,” she said.