Sunday, Oct 26, 2014
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State Road 50 project three months off pace

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Published:   |   Updated: August 31, 2014 at 11:59 AM

The State Road 50 widening project has been under way for almost two years and motorists have at least another 12 months to endure the construction and congestion.

An additional 90 days were added to the original contract because of weather-related issues, giving D.A.B Constructors an adjusted 1,015 total days to complete the 6.1-mile project. Despite the additional days the job’s cost remains $39.4 million.

“The contractor is 30 days behind schedule, but the contract has until late summer 2015 for completion,” said Kris Carson, spokeswoman for Florida’s Department of Transportation. “We believe they can make up the time and get the job done on schedule.”

Carson said the contractor has been working on drainage and pipe crossings, starting at about 8 p.m. daily. Workers also are building medians, a pedestrian pathway and ponds at the west end of State Road 50.

Periodic lane closures will continue. “The intermittent closures are not new and the contractor has been doing them at night for a while,” she said.

None of the closures are scheduled for weekends, she said.

D.A.B began the widening-resurfacing project in October 2012. When completed, State Road 50 will be widened from four to six lanes.

The project also includes the installation of a sidewalk, bicycle lanes and highway lighting.

Many business owners along the stretch have complained of excess congestion and a fall-off of business from potential customers who choose not to drive in the area during construction.

Steve Diez, Hernando County’s transportation planner, said after the state’s widening project is completed the county will begin work on alleviating traffic congestion at the intersection of State Road 50 and Mariner Boulevard, which recently was deemed the worst crossroads in the area.

“It’s up to the county to fix the actual intersection,” Diez said.

Diez said Assistant County Attorney Brian Malmberg is developing ideas for fixing the corner.

County officials hope to pay for the intersection improvements, along with a new frontage road to the south, with revenue from a proposed penny sales tax that will be on Hernando ballots in November. The county estimates those two projects will cost about $14 million.

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