U.S. Route 19 in Florida
|U.S. Route 19|
|South end:||in Memphis, FL|
| I-275 from Memphis to St. Petersburg|
ALT US 19 in St. Petersburg and Holiday
SR 60 in Clearwater
SR 50 in Weeki Wachee
US 98 from Chassahowitzka to Perry
SR 44 in Crystal River
ALT US 27 from Chiefland to Perry
US 27 from Perry to Capps
I-10 near Monticello
US 90 in Monticello
|North end:||US 19 south of Thomasville, GA|
US 19 remains independent of I-75, even as the routes converge on Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida. The route is co-signed with US 27 between Capps and Perry, Alternate U.S. 27 between Perry and Chiefland, US 98 between Perry and Chassahowitzka, and Interstate 275 over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge over the mouth of Tampa Bay.
The secret designation for US 19 in Florida, between Perry and Memphis, is State Road 55. Between Perry and Capps, it follows State Road 20, and between Capps and the Georgia border, it follows State Road 57.
Manatee County to Pinellas County
The road begins at an interchange with U.S. Route 41 in Manatee County, and remains independent until the interchange with Interstate 275 at Exit 5, where it overlaps I-275 across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the terminus of which is at Interstate 275 & Florida State Road 682 at Exit 17.
According to a Dateline NBC study, part of US 19 in Florida is the most dangerous road in the United States. A Florida Highway Patrol test period beginning in 1998 and ending in 2003, as mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, showed the stretch of US 19 from Pasco County to Pinellas County to average approximately 52 deaths a year, or 262 deaths in the 5 year duration of the study. 100 of these deaths were pedestrian related making US 19 the #1 worst road to walk on in these two counties. Multiple efforts to improve US 19 have been suggested to the FDOT.
Within Downtown St. Petersburg, US 19 crosses Alternate US 19, which used to serve as the southern terminus of Alt US 19 until 2006. US 19 runs along 34th Street until just south of the interchange at Florida State Road 694 at Gandy and Park Boulevards in Pinellas Park. This interchange was intended for the formerly proposed Gandy Freeway. In eastern Largo, Florida State Road 688 shares an interchange with the northern terminus of Florida State Road 693, a road that leads to St. Pete Beach and was once part of Florida State Road A19A. Immediately after this, the next interchange is at Florida State Road 686, the road to the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport.
Florida State Road 60 is the site of the world's first Single-point urban interchange. Drew Street is north of the interchange, and for years has been a source of major accidents. By 2006, the freeway gap was filled between SR 60 and Sunset Point Boulevard, however the service roads terminate at a creek between Drew Street and Coachman Road, creating a traffic situation similar to that of the Oakdale Merge on Long Island, New York.
Major intersections of expressway segment
|Pinellas||CR 611 (49th Street North) – Pinellas Park||Interchange|
|South end of freeway|
|110th Avenue North||Interchange under construction; northbound exit is via CR 296|
|CR 296 (Bryan Dairy Road) to I-275||Interchange under construction|
|126th Avenue North||Northbound exit is via CR 296 exit; southbound exit is via SR 688|
|SR 688 (Ulmerton Road) to I-275 – Tampa|
|SR 693 south (66th Street North) – St. Pete Beach||No northbound exit|
|150th Avenue North||No access across US 19; southbound exit is via SR 686|
|SR 686 (East Bay Drive, Roosevelt Boulevard) – Largo|
|Whitney Road||Northbound exit is via SR 686|
|Gap in freeway|
|SR 60 (Gulf to Bay Boulevard) – Clearwater, Tampa||Southbound exit is via Drew Street|
|SR 590 (Northeast Coachman Road)||Southbound exit is via Sunset Point Road|
|Sunset Point Road|
|Gap in freeway|
|Countryside Boulevard||Southbound exit is via SR 580|
|SR 580 – Dunedin, Oldsmar|
|Evans Road||No access across US 19; northbound exit is via SR 580|
|North end of freeway|
When Alternate US 19 terminates at US 19 in Holiday across from a major trailer park, a de facto extension of the road serves as a brief multiplex with US 19 in Holiday which terminates a block north of the northern terminus of Alternate US 19 in Holiday at Mile Stetch Road(Pasco CR 595). After the intersection with Moog Road, US 19 takes a slight curve to the northeast before intersecting with Florida State Road 54. Shortly after this, the road crosses Pasco CR 518(Trouble Creek Road), then dips as it approaches the gateway to Gulf Harbors and curves straight north before reaching Gulf Boulevard. Downtown New Port Richey can be found roughly two miles north of this point at Main Street which is the northern terminus of unamrked southern Pasco CR 595, although the terminus used to be at Grand Boulevard in Port Richey. The bridge over the Pithlachascotee River, which carries US 19 from New Port Richey to Port Richey was a two-lane drawbridge until 1965. An even older version of that bridge is now fishing pier owned by a boat rental dealership.
Just as in Pinellas County, US 19 in Pasco County has been rated the most dangerous road in the United States. Ridge Road(Pasco CR 524) is considered to be one of the most dangerous sections of US 19. However instead of making any genuine effort to improve the intersection by building an interchange, local governments have allowed developers to add a Wal-Mart and smaller stores in the vicinity of the intersection. The closest thing to an interchange that has been considered is an overpass strictly for left-turn lanes.
North of Ridge Road, US 19 passes by the Gulf View Square Mall as well as the Embassy Plaza and Embassy Crossing shopping centers on the oppostite side of the mall. North of these two shopping centers, a marginal dirt road can be found on the east side of US 19 as far north as Fox Hollow Road, while on the west side a paved road that may have been part of the old US 19 runs from the north end of the mall to Clemens Boulevard. After this, the road intersects Pasco CR 77(Regency Park Drive) south of Jasmine Estates, Florida, which is only noticed because an 18 screen movie theater is located opposite from the terminus, before turning straight north again near the intersection with Hammock Road and Ranch Road. The next major intersection is Florida State Road 52 in Bayonet Point. The southwest corner of SR 52 is dominated by a flea market which was originally a race track.
After curving from north to northeast near the Old Dixie Highway in Hudson Beach, US 19 intersects with Hudson Avenue and Fivay Drive, the latter of which was formerly part of Pasco County Road 1. The northern terminus of Little Road(Pasco CR 1) was built at the turn of the century further north. Between the former and current terminus of Pasco CR 1, US 19 is dotted with independent motels, one of which was plagued with so much flooding during the early 21st Century that it was torn down. Another marginal dirt road exists along the east side of this section. North of Little Road, US 19 curves straight north again.
Aripeka Road(Pasco CR 595) is located in one of the most rural sections of the county. Despite efforts to preserve some of the land in this section, a new gated community geared towards horse owners has sprung up north of Aripeka Road. US 19's journey through Pasco County ends at Pasco-Hernando County Road 578(County Line Road), and another trailer park across from the west end of CR 578.
After the intersection at Pasco-Hernando County Road 578(County Line Road), US 19 continues northbound as a six-lane highway with occasional frontage roads. Tourist Development Council signs at both borders boast of the county being part of Florida's Nature Coast. The southern half of US 19 serves as most of the western border of Spring Hill, Florida. Applegate Road near Wendy Drive is only a short distance from Hernando CR 574 (Spring Hill Drive) and Hernando CR 595(Osowaw Boulevard) serve as the Gateways to Spring Hill and Hernando Beach, although southbound US 19 travelers can reach CR 595 from Tarpon Boulevard. Osowaw and Tarpon Boulevards were once part of the Old Dixie Highway, which crossed over US 19 and back until shopping centers and a portion of Timber Pines, Florida were built along the road.
Evidence of post-war, pre-Disney efforts to attact tourists can be found in two dinosaur-shaped landmarks. The first is north of the Windward Village gated community, and the second is liertally built around a local garage and former Sinclair gas station. In between there is another short former section of Old Dixie Highway north of Windward Village. Forest Oaks Boulevard is a street that runs past a local Hernando County Sheriff's station as it winds its way to Deltona Boulevard (Hernando CR 589). Berkley Manor Boulevard is the next intersection, but strictly leads to another Deed Restricted Community in Spring Hill. On the opposite side of these two intersections is a shopping center in front of two other roads leading to gated communities.
US 19 leaves Spring Hill north of Northcliffe Boulevard, and enters the City of Weeki Wachee. The Weeki Wachee Springs water park is at the intersection of Florida State Road 50 and its coastal spur Hernando County Road 550. A shopping center can be found diagonally across from the park. North of Florida State Road 50 US 19 is four-lanes wide, and has a limited number of median openings that contain left-turn lanes. Signs warn motorists that the region is a Bear Habitat. This is because much of what surrounds Route 19 north of Hexam Road consists of the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. Even the intersection with Hernando CR 476(Centralia Road) is barely notable without signs.
Across the Hernando-Citrus County Line, US 19 continues its pattern of having a limited number of left-turn lanes in the center-median. Recent development in the area may lead to the addition of such turn lanes. US 98 joins US 19 in Chassahowitzka, where Florida State Road 700 ends. Citrus County Road 480 also shares this intersection, and overlaps US 98 before branching out on its own towards Floral City. The first developed neighborhood encountered along US 19-98 is Sugarmill Woods.
Within Homossassa Springs, the division temporarily ends as it overlaps Citrus County Road 490. Citrus CR 490A terminates at the three-route concurrency with US 19-98-CCR 490. Less than 1/2 mile north of end of the CCR 490 concurrency, the road becomes divided again. North of Homossassa Springs US 19-98 serves as the location of a series of car dealerships, local garages, a Moose Lodge, churches and the intersection of Ozello Trail(Citrus CR 494).
As the road approach Crystal River Airport, one truly begins to feel that he or she has entered the City of Crystal River, since the Airport serves as the unofficial southern border. At the intersection of Citrus County Road 44W, US 19-98 becomes a six-lane divided boulevard. The division of this highway ends again, just south of the intersection of Florida State Road 44, where the road curves west as it approaches Citrus County Road 495(North Citrus Avenue).
US 19-98 curves back north and becomes a divided highway once again as it apporaches Crystal River Mall. Other former sections exist between Crystal River and Red Level, while the current US 19-98 passes by sparsley located hotels, bars, houses, cluster developments and signs advertising locally prepared peanuts. It also passes by the Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center just south of the Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant and then Citrus County Road 488 in Red Level. A field where American Civil War re-enactments are staged lies just north of the back entrance to a local quarry.
The Cross Florida Barge Canal is the only section of US 19 that is two lanes wide in Citrus County. Currently, a new four-lane divided bridge is being built by FDOT, which was originally planned in conjunction with the proposed Suncoast Parkway extension to Red Level. A smaller four-lane bridge carries US 19-98 across the Withlacoochee River as it crosses the Citrus-Levy County Line.
Levy County to Dixie County
US 19-98 crosses the Withlacoochee River and immedialtey enters Levy County and the city of Inglis, where it intersects with Levy County Road 40. West of US 19-98, Levy CR 40 is named "Follow That Dream Boulevard" for the 1962 movie starring Elvis Presley. Shortly after this, the road intersects Levy CR 40A. North of Inglis, US 19-98 runs along sparse residences, trailer parks, a Florida Sheriff's Youth Facility, the Gulf Hammock Wildlife Management Area and eventually Goethe State Forest. Within the forest, the road crosses the Ten Mile Creek bridge before reaching an at-grade interchange with Florida State Road 121 & Levy County Road 336 in Lebanon Junction. From there, US 19-98 runs along an abandoned railroad line along the east side, while the median is widened and lined with the trees that existed before the road was ever built. This section also secretly overlaps Levy CR 336. At the intersection of Levy County Road 326 in Gulf Hammock, an old locomotive and caboose is on display. Blinking signals exist over the intersection with Florida State Road 24 in Otter Creek, but the overlap with Levy CR 336 leaves just before the signal.
Alternate US 27 joins US 19-98 in Cheifland where Florida State Road 500 ends. This intersection was transformed into a 90-degree intersection, which directly faces a local high school. Almost instantly US 19-98-Alt 27 encounters the intersection of US 129.
US 19-ALT 27-98 makes a sharp left turn near the intersection of Florida State Road 26 in Fanning Springs, where it also crosses the Joe H. Anderson Sr. Bridge over the Suwanee River, thus entering Dixie County. It then follows the left bank of the Suwanee River and intersects the eastern terminus of Dixie County Road 55A, and even contains a Truck Weight station in the median before reaching Florida State Road 349 in Old Town, which used to be U.S. Route 129 Alternate. The road starts making more of a northwest turn after this and shortly afterwards encoutners Dixie CR 351 in Cross City, then passes throuth Shamrock where the road crosses Dixie County Road 358 twice. After the second crossing of CR 358, it begins to take an even more northerly direction before leaving Dixie County at the Steinhatchee River.
Taylor County to Georgia State Line
Immediately after crossing the Steinhatchee River, US 19 enters Taylor County, where it intersects with Florida State Road 51 at Tennille. The rest of the way, US 19 passes through small desolate towns such as Salem, Carbur, Athena, and Pinland.
In Bucell Junction US 19 gains the name Byron Butler Parkway as it intersects with Florida State Road 30 and Florida State Road 30A near the Perry-Foley Airport. SR 30 secretly joins US 19 momentarily. Within the city limits of Perry, SR 55 veers to the right along US 221. SR 30 is the secret designation north of here. Alternate US 27 terminates at US 27, which replaces it as an overlapping US route as US 98 heads west along Florida State Road 30. From this point, the secret designation is Florida State Road 20.
In Eridu the road intersects with Taylor County Road 14. US 19/US 27 briefly enters Madison County where the name is change to the Florida-Georgia Parkway, where it intersects with Madison County Road 150(also known as Creek 150), then Jefferson County. The first major town in Jefferson County that the road enters is Lamont, Florida, where US 19/US 27 encounters SR 165 and Jefferson CRs 257A & 257B, as it begins to move in a more westerly direction.
US 27 leaves US 19 in Capps along with SR 20, on its way through Tallahassee. From this point on, Florida State Road 57 is the secret designation, and the road maintains the name Florida-Georgia Parkway. After the intersection with Jefferson CR 158B, US 19 encounters Interstate 10 at Exit 225 in Drifton, then an intersection with Jefferson County Road 158. The road shares a concurrency with Jefferson CR 259 as it intersects US 90 (SR 10) and CR 146, but it ends just south of the intersection with CR 149 in Monticello. US 19 finally crosses the Georgia state line where Florida SR 57 ends and Georgia SR 3 and 300 begin, the former of which is the secret state route for US 19 into Atlanta, while the latter of which is the secret state route for US 19 from there to Albany, Georgia.
- ↑ Endpoints of US highways
- ↑ "MSNBC report on America's deadliest roads". MSNBC. June 7, 2005. http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7844269/. Retrieved 2007-04-21.
- ↑ Fishing pier, part of old US 19 Bridge (Historic Pictures of Western Pasco County)
- ↑ Suncoast News; Taking the High Road by Carl Orth; August 4, 2001
- ↑ Pump and Circumstance: The glory days of the gas station, by John Margolies
- ↑ District Seven Construction -- Citrus County (Florida Department of Transportation)
|U.S. Route 19|