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US-19 Construction Slowdown Continues

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Published on : Feb 25, 2015

The US-19 through Clearwater is one of the most frequently used roads in the U.S., with more than 100,000 drivers using the crucial section through Pinellas County every day. However, the construction authorities in charge of the road works on the busy section seem to have lost track.

The seemingly never-ending construction project on the US-19 began in 2009, an astounding five years ago. US$110 million was dedicated by the Florida Department of Transportation to enable signal-free travel from State Road 60 to Whitney Road. This objective was to be achieved by adding two new interchanges to the US-19 to direct traffic smoothly. After five years of wasted effort and resources, the project doesn’t seem to have taken off the planning sheet. With thousands of drivers using the busy and often congested – due to the road works – road, many of them have had enough of the lax attitude of local authorities toward the construction of such an important highway. Many are claiming to be befuddled by the changing road regulations due to the road works.

The road was slated to have been completed by June last year, but unforeseen circumstances forced a postponement of the completion to fall last year. However, even that deadline couldn’t be achieved, as the completion date was later shifted to August this year.

The crews working on the project encountered several unforeseeable obstacles in their way. One of the major ones was the bad weather conditions over the past few year, as a result of which the crew only worked 9 days in September last year. They also hit upon the remains of a 1920s bridge in one of the sections they had to dig out.

The project’s contractor seemed determined to get the job done by spring 2015, announcing additional incentives to workers. However, that deadline seems set to be extended, with work on the final sections of the project not expected to begin until April.