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East County Wednesday, Jul. 15, 2020 2 months ago

More S.R. 64 construction begins in Lakewood Ranch area

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Ground breaks Aug. 10 for the second in a trio of S.R. 64 roundabouts.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

As the Florida Department of Transportation works to complete construction of a roundabout at the intersection of State Road 64 and Rye Road/White Eagle Boulevard this fall, it is gearing up for construction of yet another roundabout less than a mile away.

Contractor Watson Civil Construction is expected to start building the new 130-foot-wide roundabout at S.R. 64 and Pope Road/GreyHawk Boulevard on Aug. 3, FDOT spokesman Brian Rick said.

“While the contractor has the option to start sooner, we anticipate an Aug. 3 start with equipment mobilization and [maintenance of

traffic] sign placement,” Rick said.

The $4.76 million project is expected to be finished by late 2021.

As part of the project, FDOT also will install a traffic signal and pedestrian crossing at S.R. 64 at 117th Street East. Rick said the work would be done in the early phase of the project.

FDOT currently is under construction of a roundabout at Rye Road/White Eagle Boulevard. Construction began in October 2018, and the project now is anticipated for completion in September.

Rick said it is not uncommon for FDOT to work on two projects close together, and FDOT has maintenance-of-traffic plans in place to maintain safe traffic patterns.

“The purpose [of the roundabouts] is to slow traffic, providing safe access from all directions while also providing continuous traffic flow without the use of traffic signals,” Rick said.

Chris Kiritsis, president and CEO of Diverse Development Group, plans to build a 7-Eleven gas station at the northwest corner of S.R. 64 at Lorraine Road/145th Street East, where a third roundabout is planned in future years, though there is a temporary traffic signal there now. He said he believes the roundabout will be a benefit to his and other businesses that come to that area.

“All the research has found roundabouts are beneficial for the businesses,” he said. “It gives all the corners [of the intersection] the same access. You’re not sitting at a stop light. You’re not waiting for a turn movement.”

Kiritsis said construction should begin on the 7-Eleven within four months and should last about five months.

Rick said FDOT’s plans for a roundabout at Lorraine Road are still in the early phases of design — about 15% complete. Accepting a bid for the project is scheduled for July 2023.

A shopping center anchored by Publix is planned for the northeast corner of Pope Road at S.R. 64. Publix officials said the store isn’t expected to open until early in 2022, so they don’t have any concerns at this time.

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