EAST MANATEE -- Construction will start soon on a new $19 million Florida Department of Transportation operations center in Manatee County, officials said.
The 52,600-square-foot building will house FDOT maintenance and construction operations, and will be formally called the Manatee Operations Center, said Robin Stublen, FDOT communications specialist.
The $18.95 million project will serve Manatee and Sarasota counties, he said.
The new center will house approximately 75 employees who will move from offices in Sarasota County, Stublen said.
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The Sarasota facility, built in the 1950s, will revert to the state Department of Environmental Protection, Stublen said. Construction, to start in late fall at 13900 State Road 64 E., is expected to take about two years to complete.
The project contractor is Jacksonville-based The Haskell Co.
Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, in whose district the new facility will be built, said she was pleased to hear of the project.
"I'm so happy to report Manatee County has a wonderful relationship with FDOT
and, when you look at all of the road projects we need in the surrounding areas, it's going to be wonderful to have them so close," she said. "That can only help us in all of our endeavors working as a team. It's so important when you can have state agencies so close at hand -- you couldn't ask for anything better."
Manatee Chamber of Commerce President Bob Bartz also stressed the advantage it will be for Manatee County to have FDOT personnel working here.
"I think it's going to be advantageous working with FDOT being here, and seeing what the situation is," said Bartz. "When we're advocating for wider lanes, better roads or whatever, you'll have people knowing the way the situation really is."
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.