U.S. 19 construction traffic problems

Construction delays along U.S. 19 have created issues for motorists for years in the Homosassa area. Even more delays are expected before a new contractor will be named to take over work left behind when D.A.B. Constructors closed their doors earlier this summer. The closure of the business has temporarily left the road-widening project in limbo.

Homosassa and Crystal River drivers should be prepared for several more weeks and months of dodging cones and barrels along U.S. 19 while the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) lines up a contractor to finish the work.

But progress is being made.

When D.A.B. Constructors defaulted on two road-widening projects in July, it was up to the surety company to find a replacement. There are two separate projects: the widening of the 2.1-mile stretch from West Green Acres Street to South Jump Court in Homosassa (which began first) and the widening from West Jump Court to West Fort Island Trail through Crystal River.

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Each of the projects has its own contract and surety company.

The surety is now evaluating prices from two potential completion contractors for the first stretch. Work is also underway to fix the pedestrian signal issues at Homosassa Trail.  

The bid deadline for the second project — the stretch of U.S. 19 from West Jump Court to West Fort Island Trail — was Thursday, Sept. 23 and the surety is evaluating those bids. Also, some of the driveways that exit onto U.S. 19 that were in need of repair have been regraded.

Once contracts are awarded, the FDOT can determine completion dates.

Meanwhile, stormwater drainage systems along U.S. 19 are receiving additional water treatment measures, such as using tanks and filters to remove high concentrations of soil particles in the pond water before it is discharged out of the right of way.

To reduce soils flowing into the ponds, crews are placing sod over exposed soil in several areas, creating temporary drainage swales, and installing other enhanced erosion control features.

“We will continue to monitor and improve our erosion control measures and we hope to have a completion contractor on board very soon,” FDOT District 7 Secretary David Gwynn said recently.

To say the residents and business owners in Homosassa and Crystal River are frustrated is beyond understatement.

The widening project through Homosassa began in November 2016 and was supposed to wrap up in the spring of 2019. That date was extended to late 2020 and then again to spring 2021. That deadline was thrown out the window in July when D.A.B. closed its doors.

County commissioners will post FDOT updates on its website to let folks know the latest on the U.S. 19 and other road projects. Visit https://www.citrusbocc.com/departments/public_works/engineering/road_resurfacing.php

 

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