U.S. Hwy 301 GroundbreakingThe northeast corner of U.S. Hwy. 301 and Big Bend Rd. in Riverview marked the site of the beginning of another long-awaited project, soon to alter the flow of traffic in Riverview.
Hillsborough County and Florida Department of Transportation officials, along with staff, local development representatives and community representatives, gathered together in October to celebrate the groundbreaking of the U.S. Hwy. 301 Improvement Project and to be first to put the shovel in the ground.
According to County Division Director of Transportation and Land Development Review Bob Campbell, work on the project itself, which is hoped to improve a six-mile segment of U.S. Hwy. 301 from Gibsonton Dr. to C.R. 672/Balm Rd., began in 2005 when the county approved an agreement with nine developers to provide partial funding for the  widening U.S. Hwy. 301 to four lanes from Gibsonton Dr. to S.R. 674 (Sun City Center). 
Campbell explained that additional funds were provided by a second group of developers in 2008 which allowed the county and Florida Department of Transportation to expand the design of the project to six lanes with a 22-ft. median. Pedestrian features will include a five-ft. sidewalk on the west side and a 12-ft. multi-use path on the east side.
The cost of the current phase is approximately $110 million, which includes construction, design, studies, acquisition and administrative costs.  The state is contributing $47 million to the project. A portion of this amount, $32.9 million, is from a grant that the county received from the state in October of 2007, which is awarded to communities that have congested state roads. Developers are contributing about $42 million to the project, and the county will be contributing about $20 million.
But according to District Secretary Don Skelton, the best part of all of this is what the three parties involved were able to accomplish.
“The partnership between the state, the county and the developers alone is a tremendous accomplishment,” Skelton said. 
FDOT spokesperson Marian Scorza agreed when she said “This construction project is simply unique. Due to the efforts of all involved, the project construction has advanced by almost 10 years,” she said.
Of course, this project will require the cooperation of all motorists as well before things will be smooth sailing on U.S. Hwy. 301. The project is to be completed and open to traffic in the summer of 2012.
For more information, residents may call the Florida Department of Transportation at 975-6060.

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