Homosassa traffic woes dominant

Motorists travel on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, along U.S. 19 through the ongoing construction to widen the busy highway that carries traffic north and southbound through Citrus.

It was hoped the congestion and traffic backups along U.S. 19 in Homosassa would be pretty much alleviated by now.

However, that is not the case.

Last month, the Florida department of Transportation (FDOT) said all six lanes going north and south on U.S. 19 through Homosassa — from West Green Acres Street to South Jump Court — would be open by late January.

All six lanes along that 2.1-mile stretch are not open. In fact, lanes are closed and congestion remains.

When asked, FDOT spokeswoman Kris Carson said six lanes are open throughout most of the project area but there remain a few spots where work remains.

But the contractor, D.A.B. Constructors Inc., is working on it.

“The contractor has periodically been using daytime and nighttime lane closures for various work — ensuring at least two lanes in each direction are open during daytime hours,” Carson said.

“Some night work requires double lane closures," she added. "(D.A.B.) is maintaining a minimum of one open lane in each direction during these overnight work activities.”

The $31.8-million project will not completely finish until spring 2021. When done, there will be an additional lane in each direction with paved shoulders, designated bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of US 19.

Meanwhile to the north, the widening of U.S. 19 from Jump Court to Fort Island Trail in Crystal River has accelerated. There are lane closures and periodic traffic backups.

Carson said the contractor has shifted traffic to the new northbound roadway in the southern portion of the project, which allows them to work on the next construction phase earlier.

The work includes the reconstruction and widening of northbound and southbound U.S. 19 in the median area from north of Jump Court to Dixieland Street.

The project is currently on schedule, she said, and is still estimated to hit the completion date of fall 2022.

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com. To see more of his stories, visit  tinyurl.com/y6kb23vv.