Last part of Sumter Boulevard to be widened

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NORTH PORT, Fla. - One of the busiest roads in North Port is finally set to be complete. After more than a decade, the money is there and work to widen the rest of Sumter Boulevard is expected to begin in a few months.

The mile and half stretch of improvements will run from Price Boulevard to Libby Road.

Currently the road goes from four lanes to two lanes and back to four. Safety has even been a concern for those who live nearby. "They come together and they get frustrated, so there is a lot of honking and yelling," says resident Kurt Lohnes.

Now, after years of waiting, the money is there, land has been acquired, and work will begin in October or November. "I think this is a very big deal for North Port."

The work is needed because the second busiest roadway in the city now has city hall, the post office, police, and fire headquarters too. The past work was piecemealed in phases from I-75 to U.S. 41 for the past decade. "It was originally designed in three phases. They started with Phase 2, which was up towards I-75."

It will end up being more than five phases. The last $10 million coming from a low interest state bank loan. As one of the gateways to the city it will include all the upgrades the rest of the stretch has gotten. "This is probably the highest level of design we have here in the city. It will have the wider walkways, gazebos on the walkways."

The only thing left is having to put up with the dust once work finally begins. "It's going to be a very nice thoroughfare once it is all completed. We ask the citizens to be patient with us because it is going to cause some interruptions."

It certainly is going to be around for a while. The work is expected to take an entire year to complete.