About three weeks ahead of schedule, Florida’s first diverging diamond interchange is on track to be completed by next fall, according to a Florida Department of Transportation official.
“That is the entire project,” Marlena Gore, FDOT interstate construction project manager, told the East Manatee Republican Club on Thursday. “We are looking at implementing the diamond itself in early spring.”
During the luncheon at Peridia Golf & Country Club, club members heard an update on the construction of the diverging diamond interchange at Interstate 75/University Parkway, which is 55 percent complete.
A new southbound traffic pattern on I-75 at University Parkway went into effect Wednesday after a “flawless” traffic shift, according to Gore. The southbound on- and off-ramps are complete and work is about to begin on the northbound ramps, Gore added.
“We were able to transfer all southbound traffic,” she said.
The $74.5 million project, which is completely federally funded and expected to be completed in time for the World Rowing Championships, will help alleviate traffic congestion, officials have said. A kiosk will be set up in the Mall at University Town Center after the first of the year to help educate motorists about the diverging diamond interchange.
“As everybody knows living in both of these counties, we have nothing but traffic issues so it was an innovative idea that the Florida Department of Transportation decided to implement at University Parkway and I-75,” Gore said.
To receive a $5 million bonus, Prince Contracting LLC must complete the project by July 29.
“We are in line for them to do that,” Gore said. “We are pushing them very, very hard for them to get this done, not only for the department but for citizens of Manatee County.”
When complete, the diverging diamond interchange will be the largest of its kind in the United States, Gore said.
“With being a Sarasota native, I’m really, really proud of that fact,” she said. “We are looking for a very successful completion and hitting a big milestone for both Manatee and Sarasota County.”
Six-month look ahead of Interstate 75/University Parkway diverging diamond interchange construction
- Complete construction of the noise wall.
- Shift northbound I-75 traffic onto the Acrow temporary bridge.
- Demolish existing northbound I-75 bridge.
- Shift traffic on University Parkway to the outside to begin permanent roadway construction.
- Complete widening of Errie Creek Bridge.
- Start construction of I-75 northbound bridge.
Source: FDOT presentation