BROOKSVILLE - Business Development Director Mike McHugh is calling it the most ambitious road expansion at the airport in recent memory and one which should open up new business for future clients.
The county will four-lane Aerial Way, from the Kohl's Department store south to Telecom Drive, about three-quarters of a mile. That should enhance traffic flow, which McHugh said can become heavy in the afternoon when employees are trying to exit the corporate park.
Eventually, the Florida Department of Transportation plans to continue that road even further south to County Line Road, providing easy access to the Suncoast Parkway. There is no timeline on that project, also known as the Ayers Road extension.
Initially, Aerial Way was to be four-laned only in the vicinity of the new Accuform Signs corporate headquarters building. Next summer, the company plans to open a new 305,000-square-foot building on 40 acres in the corporate park section of the airport.
But McHugh said it makes more sense to continue four-laning Aerial Way to accommodate other businesses at the western side of the airport and get the infrastructure in place for potential new tenants.
McHugh said it will enhance the corporate airpark, which is now known as the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport and Technology Center.
"This is the most collaborative project between a client and the county that we've ever done," McHugh said. "It helps (Accuform), but it also opens it up for us."
Also planned is a new traffic light at the corner of Corporate Boulevard and Aerial Way, where Accuform will be located. Corporate Way will be realigned, making it a north-south road.
The county will pay for the road expansion and traffic light through two grants: a $1.1 million transportation infrastructure grant from the Florida Department of Transportation and a $1.5 million Community Development Block Grant. No airport matching funds are required.
Assistant County Administrator for Operations Brian Malmberg said the county will also kick in some $500,000 from District 4 impact fees to help pay for the road expansion.
Malmberg said FDOT is acquiring right of way, which would allow for the eventual tie-in of Aerial Way to County Line Road, an additional two-thirds of a mile.
But the construction phase has not yet been funded.
In the future, County Line Road would be realigned from the Suncoast Parkway north and east to Ayers Road, which ties into U.S. 41. That realignment would make it especially easy for Trillium residents because the new road would go through their subdivision.
County Commissioner Diane Rowden said now is the ideal time for the road-widening project because construction costs are low.
"I think that's it's a good idea to use the resources we have to do that now, and I think it will help with future businesses in the area," Rowden said.
Accuform is a global manufacturer of safety signs and other products. At 305,000 square feet, the new $15-million facility will be almost triple the size of its existing building at the airport and will employ 571 people.
When it opens, Accuform Signs will be one of the largest manufacturing centers in the county, roughly the size of two-and-a-half Sam's Club stores.
McHugh said construction of the new building will begin after engineering work is completed.