MANATEE -- After months of construction, the El Conquistador Parkway extension connecting 34th Street West to the traffic circle at 75th Street West and 53rd Avenue is finished.
The $2.2 million project was officially completed Monday with the opening of the roads, according to a Manatee County news release. The project began on Oct. 31, said Nick Azzara, Manatee County's information outreach coordinator.
The 1.25-mile road extension was funded through impact fees and is part of a long-term construction plan, Azzara said.
Two outside lanes of what will eventually become a four-lane strip were constructed this time, he said.
Bicycle paths next to each vehicle lane and a 5-foot-wide sidewalk were also constructed, he said.
The sidewalk does not accommodate golf carts, because they need 8-foot-wide sidewalks, Azzara added.
At past county meetings, residents had expressed concern over the possibility of having the area overrun by trucks.
"There are no vehicle restrictions at this time," Az
Bill Schlacks, president of the El Conquistador Neighborhood Association, said the extension brings convenience to the area, but hopes it won't become a congested route.
"We are hoping that we don't pick up that route as an alternative to 53rd Avenue. We're hoping traffic stays on 53rd Avenue," said Schlacks.
He expects a surge in "curious" traffic during the first few days following the opening, he said.
"From a development standpoint, I think it was inevitable, it had to take place," Schlacks said. "It will be a value to all the property owners from that standpoint."
The posted speed limit is 35 mph.