top story

Newest project on I-75 at State Route 70 set to begin in Fall

  • 0

BRADENTON, FL (WWSB) - As one project finishes, another begins. Sarasota and Manatee counties are filled with construction to improve the roadways.

State transportation officials said the diverging diamond at University Parkway and I-75 will officially be finished Thursday. 

The next reconstruction will be at the I-75 and State Route 70 interchange.

Drivers said the diverging diamond on University Parkway has already made their lives a whole lot easier. It's the first part of a nearly seven mile stretch of reconstruction on I-75, ending at State Route 64.

"It was quite a nightmare," said Sara Weinberg. In fact, the traffic on I-75 was such a nightmare, it was part of the reason why Sara Weinberg was so excited to retire. 

She lives in Parrish, but worked in Sarasota, meaning twice everyday, she had to drive I-75, through State Route 64, State Route 70 and University Parkway.

"It was very painful while the construction was going on, but I'm thrilled that it will be competed soon, because it really has helped the area tremendously," Weinberg said. "However, as soon as they completed the diverging diamond here, they started another one at SR-64, which is another area I had to go through everyday. So it was an 'oh no' moment."

The $53 million improvements to SR-64 are expected to be complete in 2019. 

"It's a traditional diamond interchange, but we're making a lot of improvements to the ramps and to 64 itself," explained Zach Burch with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT.) "Just for not only operational improvements, but safety improvements over what was there previously."

But that's not stopping FDOT from starting another project right in the middle of State Route 70. 

A $106 million re-configuring of that interchange will make more improvements to safety and operations. 

"We're also going to be building auxiliary lanes connecting to the ones that were built as part of the University [Parkway] project and bringing them all the way to SR-70, also all the way up to the new SR-64 interchange," Burch explained.

This will provide drivers with an extra lane and more time to merge on and off the freeway. 

That construction will start in the Fall and is expected to take three years.

In the meantime, FDOT asked drivers to remain patient, and so did the people who are driving this route everyday.

"Make sure you leave a lot of time, check some traffic apps before you leave and just have patience and don't follow as closely as people do," Weinberg said.

Copyright 2018 WWSB. All rights reserved.

Multi Media Journalist