State funds to speed up US 19 construction - WFLA News Channel 8

State funds to speed up US 19 construction

State funds to speed up US 19 construction

Posted: Updated:
US 19 has been under construction for years US 19 has been under construction for years
Business owners in the area suffer from the ongoing construction Business owners in the area suffer from the ongoing construction
CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) -

Some relief is coming for frustrated drivers and businesses along US Highway 19 in Pinellas County. After years of roadblocks and delays, the governor’s office has vowed extra money to expedite the project, which will turn a long stretch of US 19 into a controlled access highway.

“We’re investing $4.8 million to speed up this work so businesses can be more successful and area residents can spend more time with their families,” said Governor Rick Scott. “This agreement will provide the region a lot of relief, and when all the construction is completed – this area will be more poised to succeed.”

The project started in 2009. It was supposed to wrap up last year.

“It’s obviously hurt our business,” said Terry Curkan, owner of the Swiss Watch Service Group. “It’s tough for customers to get in and out, but we’re dealing with it the best we can.”

Curkan moved in four years ago. The barricades went up a few months later. For years, customers have had to exit US 19 on a service road to get to his shopping plaza. Curkan says at least five of his neighboring businesses have moved out because of it.

The Governor’s office says the additional funding will pay for additional crews and equipment. The new completion date for the stretch of US 19 between Gulf to Bay Boulevard and Whitney Road is set for the end of March 2015, which would be nine months ahead of the current schedule.

“With the new agreement we’ll get traffic off the service roads by this October,” said Scott.

Contractors working on the stretch of US 19 from Sunset Point Road to Countryside Boulevard will also be encouraged to speed things up, according to the Governor’s Office.

The co-Vice President at Dimmitt Cadillac says he’ll have to see it before he believes it.

“Nothing is happening out here. The work is at a standstill,” Peter Dimmitt said Thursday.


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