Cardinal Street and Parkway construction

Heavy equipment moves dirt Thursday afternoon, Sept. 23, at the intersection with West Cardinal Street. Construction along the toll road is progressing with plans for the road to open early next year.

If you haven’t driven by the Suncoast Parkway interchange on West Cardinal Street in Homosassa, get set for a complete change in the landscape.

The lanes going on and off the parkway are there and the woods that once dominated the view are gone.

In about six months, that section of Cardinal is expected to be bursting with cars getting off the toll road and heading west into Homosassa or Crystal River or east to Lecanto.

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As of today, the interchange is expected to open in early 2022.

“At this time, all four ramps have been completed,” said Angela Starke, spokeswoman with Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise (FTE). “Pond excavation work is still under way and will likely continue for the next several months.”

The toll road is being extended 13 miles from U.S. 98 in Hernando County to State Road 44 in Lecanto. The cost: $135 million.

Work began in February 2018. The original contracted completion date was summer of next year. However, the project is ahead of schedule and FTE hopes to open the entire road in early 2022. 

Starke said the toll road extension “will increase capacity to ease current and future congestion and improve safety by creating full interchanges in areas undergoing significant residential development.”

Residents can keep track on the progress at West Cardinal Street and the entire Suncoast 2 project by visiting https://bit.ly/3EMncdN

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