Much has been written about the two U.S. 19 widening projects from Green Acres Street in Homosassa to Fort Island Trail in Crystal River.
But what about the halted repaving and multi-use trail projects from the Hernando County line to Green Acres Street?
Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) spokeswoman Kris Carson said construction along that 7-mile stretch has resumed.
Q - What exactly is going on there?
A - Crews are repaving the road and building a new multi-use trail for pedestrians and cyclists
Q - When did this project start and how much is it costing?
A - Work began in January 2021 and the construction cost is $20 million
Q - Why was work halted?
A - On July 28, 2021, the original project contractor (D.A.B. Constructors) was filing bankruptcy and stopped work. On Aug. 3, FDOT declared the contractor in default. Much of the land along the west side of the road had already been cleared for a sidewalk.
Q - How is it that work is able to resume?
A - The FDOT project has contract bonds issued by a surety company. That company found a completion contractor, Watson Civil Construction, based in St. Augustine. The company restarted work Nov. 29.
Q - When does Watson plan to finish the project?
A - Early 2023
Q - What will motorists notice along that stretch?
A - Work activities in the first few weeks will involve cleanup, surveying, and other tasks needed to safely resume construction.
Q - Why are we doing this in the first place?
A - Safety, safety and safety. In 2014 a 15-year-old was killed after the bicycle he was riding along the shoulder near West Cypress Boulevard, swerved into the path of an oncoming car. The boy’s former teacher, Beverly Howard of Sugarmill Woods, started a campaign to get the state to install a sidewalk.
Q - What about the east side of U.S. 19 along that stretch? That’s dangerous too.
A - The FDOT agrees and that’s why it is also building a multi-use trail — wider than a sidewalk — on that side which will link up with the existing trail at Green Acres Street.
Q - Can I keep track of the progress?
A - Yes. Updates are available at Department’s website: https://www.fdottampabay.com/.