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I-75 widening starts in county in 2014

Tony Holt Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 06:09 PM

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A four-lane Interstate 75 will be a thing of the past.

Six lanes are coming — and they will stretch from the Georgia border to Naples.

The expansion through Hernando County will begin in 2014, which is dramatically different from the original schedule, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.

"We were able to advance it by over 10 years, which is really good for us," said Kris Carson, an FDOT spokeswoman.

The agency announced there will be six total projects through the region — from State Road 54 in Pasco County to the Florida Turnpike exit in Sumter County.

"I-75 is one of the most critical corridors in the state, providing interregional connection vital to our economy," said Carson.

The project will combine with expansion projects in Sarasota and Charlotte counties, ensuring the interstate's entire western corridor through Florida will have six lanes.

The total estimated construction cost for the region is $374 million.

Constant bottle-necking and the need to spur economic growth contributed to the project being moved to the top of the priority list, according to FDOT.

Another motivation is to enhance public safety and emergency evacuation, said Carson.

The I-75 section from the Pasco-Hernando border to an area just south of State Road 50 will be widened beginning in 2014. The next section – which extends to the Sumter border, will be renovated in 2015.

The latter project will be the most extensive and expensive — accounting for $86 million of the total $374 million.

It will include the widening of the existing four-lane interstate and also expands the bridge over Croom-Rital Road and the Withlacoochee River. A reconstruction of the I-75-S.R. 50 interchange also will take place.

"There will be a lot of construction," said Carson. "It will be really good for the economy once the (project) is done," said Carson. (352) 544-5283

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