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Article by: Janelle Irwin

St. Petersburg City Council approved Thursday the design phase of traffic flow improvements in the Carillon Business Park, home to Raymond James (NYSE: RJF) and several other top area employers.

The series of proposed changes are expected to reduce overall traffic delays in the area by 64 percent.

About 16,000 workers flood into the Carillon Business Park each day through five entrances and exits, creating a daily traffic backup. Raymond James pushed hard for road improvements, agreeing to invest $10 million in facility improvements including the acquisition of three buildings to accommodate at least 650 more jobs.

The city budgeted $2 million for the improvements.

“People say, ‘you’re doing favors for Raymond James,’ but people need to understand that for every one of those jobs, goods and services are created that create other jobs,” said St. Pete City Council member Charlie Gerdes.

Raymond James officials told the city the improvements were a key strategy in attracting new talent.

Contractors will have 180 days to create a design adding a third left turn lane from Carillon Parkway to Ulmerton Road, widen Lake Carillon Drive, add an eastbound turn lane on Lake Carillon at Carillon Parkway, a southbound right turn lane on Carillon Parkway and a westbound left turn lane on Lake Carillon Drive.

Traffic delays at the intersection of Roosevelt Boulevard and 28th Street are expected to be cut in half, while those turning right at the intersection will save as much as 89 percent of their time once improvements are completed.

The project will complement the Florida Department of Transportation’s ongoing improvements throughout the Gateway district to further improve traffic conditions for commuters.