The Florida Department of Transportation unveiled its five year work program for District 2, outlining a series of roadwork projects across 18 counties in North Florida to be completed between 2014 and 2019.
Funded primarily by state taxes on gasoline, the projects will be completed with minimal financial burden on the counties or cities requiring service. The overall cost is estimated to be $500 million by 2016, although actual costs could grow higher.
The plan, rolled out on Thursday at FDOT’s Lake City office, includes bike path and sidewalk maintenance, stop light adjustments and lane widening, but the main focus is on complete road resurfacing.
Sections of I-75 will be resurfaced beginning in 2014, including the entire length of the highway that runs through Alachua County. Resurfacing in the county will be broken up into two parts, and will cost approximately $16 million per section.
“Our contractors will have a maintenance and traffic plan,” said Bill Henderson said, FDOT district planning and environmental manager. “We’ll keep two lanes open at all times, we do a lot of resurfacing work at night, and we won’t work on holidays when the peak use [of the highway] is going on.”
Although the extensive plans extend to 2019 and are outlined in detail, the projects are all tentatively scheduled.
Any setbacks could result in shifting the time period tasks are undertaken or completed.
“Especially when you’re repairing a road that’s being used, you’re going to have some issues, but we try to do a good job of keeping the traffic flowing and keeping it safe, which is our main goal. Hopefully, we’ll get a good project and get out of there as soon as we can,” Henderson said.
FDOT focuses on work to be done five years in the future and will set its sights on 2020 soon.
“When we do work to roads, obviously we’re doing it because there’s a need there. It’s either cracked up, rutted, or the ride is bad. It’s typically done for safety,” FDOT Lake City Operations Engineer Marty Humphries said. “It’s proactive, not reactive.”
The I-75 project is just one of many scheduled in the area. Over one mile of Archer Road in Gainesville will undergo construction starting in 2015, as will other state roads in neighboring counties. In Bradford County, 95 million dollars will go towards a new 8 mile bypass of Starke. The most costly projects are slated for Duval County, mainly in the city of Jacksonville. Roadwork can create small hassles for travelers, but the intention is to create a better driving environment.
“We’re working for the taxpayers. We want to do what’s right on these projects and keep our system in as good a shape as we can with the funds we have,” Humphries said. The goal of the department is to support the public.”