Despite a few bumps along the way, Pasco County was able to officially open the Collier Parkway extension to traffic before it planned and very possibly under budget.
“We haven’t done the final measurements, but I think we’re going to be under budget,” said Robert Shepherd, the county's construction engineering manager. The road was expected to be open to traffic by April 17, but actually opened March 30. An official ribbon cutting, overseen by commissioners and other officials, was held yesterday, April 5.
The $4.3 million project began in May 2009 with WDG construction overseeing the job. That contractor failed to perform the work on schedule, Shepherd said, and was replaced in September 2010 by Ripa & Associates.
The extension adds 1.8 miles to the roadway. It routes traffic heading toward Ehren Cutoff Road and northern Land O’ Lakes away from Lake Padgett. It also provides easier access for the Dupree Lakes subdivision.
Principals of both Pine View middle and elementary school were on hand for the ribbon cutting. The extension pulls traffic away from Parkway Boulevard near the schools and routes it closer to Ehren. This, they said, has a direct and positive effect on their schools.
“It helps with the safety issues,” said Jennifer Crosby, principal of Pine View Middle.
“It reduces the traffic flow,” agreed Judith Cosh, principal of Pine View Elementary.
Dupree Lakes’ officials are also pleased with the road’s opening. That subdivision has another phase to go before build out and easier access from the interstate and State Road 54 is a plus.
“This is going to help with the new models,” said Dave Klima, a new home counselor for Beazer Homes, the developer of Dupree Lakes. “(This is a) brand new window. It’s a big boost for us.”