By Tamas Mondovics
As construction of the Boyette Rd. final phase III widening project keeps inching closer to its targeted spring 2014 completion date, residents were treated to a new traffic pattern last month which has once again switched motorists back onto the brand new westbound bridge.
It took no time for the demolition of the old Bell Creek bridge that now allows the reconstruction work for the second, new eastbound bridge.
According to Hillsborough County officials, work is progressing as scheduled with a number of completed or close to be finished elements, including the much-anticipated improvement of the troublesome Boyette/ Bell Shoals Rd. and FishHawk Blvd. intersection, which is scheduled to be done this month.
Other more recent work on the projects includes the force main removal on the north side from Donneymoor Dr. toward the bridge, a storm pipe installation as well as a triple-barrel repair work, both on the north side of the roadway just East of Tarragon.
According to a recent update, residents and motorists will also see ongoing asphalt and concrete work on the north side from Donneymoor east to the bridge along with storm pipe work on the north side from Donneymoor east to Sedgebrook, the interconnection of the proposed traffic signals throughout the project limits as well as the installation of sidewalks and sod on the north side from Donneymoor to the bridge.
The existing force main removal within the intersection of Boyette and Bell Shoals will begin within the next two months finishing the project with the reconstruction of the roadway south and north of the intersection of Bell Shoals and Boyette Rd., officials said.
When all is finished, the $23,184,354 Phase III of Boyette Rd., done by Prince Contracting LLC, will be widened from the existing two-lane road to a four-lane divided highway.
It will include bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides, the relocation of major utilities, drainage improvements, landscaped medians, mast arm traffic signals and signing and pavement markings as well as the reconstruction of the bridge over Bell Creek.
The entire Boyette Rd. widening project began with Phase 1 from US 301 to Balm Riverview Rd. and was competed in July 2004. Phase II from Balm Riverview Rd. to McMullen Rd. was completed in May 2009.
The project’s current phase is approximately 2.6 miles and began in August, 2010, with a scheduled 1,280 calendar days of work and an estimated Spring 2014 completion.
When asked about the project’s time frame and its challenges, county spokesman, Steve Valdez, referred to the county’s online project status upgrade, which in part mentioned maintenance of traffic and traffic phasing, significant utility relocation work underground, removal and construction of the bridge at Bell Creek, major traffic concerns to include school traffic, limited right of way for construction, coordination with local businesses and various Home Owner’s Association’s (HOA’s) in the area as well as unforeseen conditions just to name a few.
The update read, “During the course of construction, there have been many challenges to include the resolution of various utility conflicts, bridge redesign, plan revisions due to constructability issues, wetland area and high water table issues due to unforeseen weather impacts and unforeseen subsoil conditions.”
For more information about the project residents may visit www.hillsborough.org., and under community projects click on Transportation Projects and find Boyette Rd.