Construction is nearing completion in Lithia on the bridge on Boyette Rd., just southwest of the intersection with Dorman Rd.

Good news for residents who travel on Boyette Rd. in Lithia. Construction is expected to finish next month on the bridge on Boyette Rd., just southwest of the intersection with Dorman Rd., after more than a year, meaning an end to a significant detour for drivers.

Damage to the bridge, which was built in 1966, was discovered during a routine inspection in September 2018. The county immediately closed the road surrounding the bridge, causing drivers to detour onto Browning Rd. to Dorman Rd.

“Our crew was performing routine desilting when they found deficiencies that caused us to have to close the bridge right away,” said Jason Boulnois, Hillsborough County’s construction services section manager.

According to Boulnois, after research, it made more economical sense to replace the bridge rather than repair it.

The county then designed and bid-out construction on a new bridge as quickly as possible with a budget of $682,000.

“Knowing that residents were facing a detour with the bridge closed, we tried to have construction start as soon as possible,” said Boulnois. “It happened relatively fast considering we had no warning of the closure.”

However, a very rainy summer and a hurricane activation led to unavoidable delays in construction that pushed the county beyond the projected late summer opening date. Boulnois now hopes to have the bridge open by Thursday, October 31.

“This is why we do inspections,” he said.

Channing Park resident Kerrie Hoening is looking forward to an easier commute once the bridge reopens.

“It will be great to be able to use the road again after so long,” said Hoening. “We appreciate the county working hard to keep us safe on the roads but with the bridge so close to our community, it will be a relief to no longer have to take the detour.”

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.