Nearly three years after dirt began flying, a $72.6 million project to widen State Road 52 and Interstate 75 is heading into its final phase.
Completion is expected in summer 2017.
Motorists have learned to navigate through construction cones, barricades and lane shifts — heading north or south on I-75, or east and west on two-lane State Road 52.
Traffic flow has slowed, and sometimes halted, as construction workers twirled their signs signaling lines of motorists to go “slow” or “stop.”
Construction work has greeted residents entering and leaving the Tampa Bay Golf & Country Club on a daily basis.
Amid the passenger vehicles, a steady stream of 18-wheelers rolled in and out of the Flying J truck stop, just east of I-75.
It became a routine of the daily commute.
The work began in May 2014.
The state department of transportation tried to minimize the impact to traffic by having road crews work at night, and scheduling lane closures after 9 p.m.
“We will have added capacity to allow the traffic to flow better,” said John McShaffrey, a transportation department spokesman. “We’ve already seen that.”
Part of the project is to redesign the interchange.
In March, FDOT opened a loop ramp for westbound traffic on State Road 52, heading south on I-75.
Ramp intersections will have traffic signals to aid motorists who are entering and exiting I-75.
In 2016, southbound traffic onto I-75 from State Road 52 logged about 8,300 vehicles per day. Northbound there were about 3,000 vehicles a day, according to FDOT data on Annual Average Daily Traffic counts.
The same traffic report showed about 60,000 vehicles per day traveling I-75 between County Road 54 and State Road 52; and 40,000 per day between State Road 52 and County Road 41.
The FDOT project will widen about 7 miles of I-75 from four lanes to six lanes, with three lanes in each direction. The work stretches from north of County Road 54 to north of State Road 52.
About 1 ½ miles of State Road 52 will be widened from two lanes to six lanes, from west of Old Pasco Road to east of Corporate Lake Boulevard.
In addition, frontage roads will be built on the northbound and southbound sides of State Road 52, west of I-75.
The project also includes on-street bicycle lanes and 10-foot sidewalks.
Published May 24, 2017