Millions of dollars are going into work along Bayshore Boulevard — restoring the balustrade, building a landscaped median and adding bicycle lanes — but cars still jostle along the city's signature roadway.
"The project, as it's ending, doesn't include putting that very thin layer of pavement on to sort of repave the surface," Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen said. "The result is it looks like patchwork. It's not as bumpy as it was, but it's still bumpy and sort of unsightly."
Cohen and Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman want something done, and quickly — in time for the Republican National Convention in August.
So they're getting the process of smoothing Bayshore started, asking for feedback in less than two weeks from city and county staff members.
"I think it's in a mess of a shape, and we've got to do something to get it paved so that when the convention gets there, we look good," Murman said.
On March 2, then-Mayor Pam Iorio signaled the start of Bayshore improvements by unveiling a sign on Bayshore at Magnolia Avenue.
Among the upgrades:
Bayshore's balustrade — the spindled railing at water's edge — also received a facelift.
Construction of a second phase along Bayshore is expected to begin in 2014 and span a stretch between Rome and Howard avenues. The work will include widening southbound Bayshore by reducing median width and modifying the pavement to provide for a 4-foot-wide bicycle lane.
A final work phase will duplicate the second-phase improvements along the stretch of Bayshore from Howard to north of Gandy Boulevard.
But Bayshore remains bumpy.
Murman ideally would like the road smoothed all the way from downtown to Gandy. That would cost $1.2 million.
Murman said other county projects could be reprioritized, allowing the Bayshore improvement to begin sooner.
Bayshore is a county road, and Hillsborough would fix it. County staff members have surveyed Bayshore, examining its condition and "the extensive work that needs to be done," Murman said.
Murman said funding might come from a mix of city, county and state dollars.
The Republican National Convention runs Aug. 27-30. Cohen said he expects national newscasts to broadcast from Bayshore, and plenty of tourists will travel the road that week.
"Repaving that road obviously makes us shine a lot better," Murman said.