Governor Rick Scott today announced the advanced funding of $83 million for the I-75/University Parkway interchange pending approval by the Florida Legislature. The project will replace the traditional diamond interchange with an innovative diverging diamond interchange (DDI) designed to improve the flow of traffic and address safety concerns at the heavily travelled intersection.
Governor Rick Scott said, “By securing the accelerated funding of $83 million we are able to advance the construction of the I-75/University Parkway interchange that will create more job opportunities for area families and greatly enhance connectivity allowing Floridians to spend less time in traffic and more time with loved ones. This project is a major investment in the economic future of Sarasota and Manatee counties, and as these communities grow we will work to create more jobs and opportunities for Florida families. This year we were proud to have invested a record $10.1 billion to improve Florida’s transportation infrastructure in the It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget.”
The DDI design is expected to relieve congestion using a design which eliminates left turn crossing of oncoming traffic when entering or exiting the interstate. The project expands I-75 to an eight-lane freeway with three through lanes and an auxiliary lane in each direction from University Parkway Interchange South to Fruitville Road interchange. The auxiliary lanes will provide a dedicated travel lane between the two interchanges.
The project also includes rebuilding I-75 bridges over University Parkway and widening I-75 bridges at Foley Creek and Errie Creek. FDOT also plans to widen approximately one mile of University Parkway from Cattlemen Road to Market Street to accommodate the interchange improvements. The new interchange will improve pedestrian safety to ensure interstate traffic flows between two interchanges, alleviate delays, and reduce left hand turns into crossing traffic for all users.
Construction of the interchange is expected to bring an estimated 120 direct construction jobs and an additional 400 indirect jobs to southwest Florida. The high-priority project is able to be advanced as funding has become available due to bid savings from other projects and additional federal funding redistributed from other states. The DDI design, first used in the United States in 2009 and recognized as one of the best innovations of the year, will be a first for Florida.
Florida Senate President Designate Andy Gardiner said, “Improving traffic conditions will enhance the safety of this highly-traveled area while helping to fuel the local economy of a growing region. We applaud Senator Galvano and Senator Detert for their ongoing commitment to proactive economic development measures that create private sector jobs in this community and across our state. Likewise, Governor Scott’s tireless efforts to continuously improve Florida’s transportation infrastructure send the right message to employers looking to locate and expand their businesses here in Florida.”
Senator Jeff Brandes said, “This is great news for southwest Florida travelers. With this project, Governor Scott and Secretary Prasad understood our need and worked to provide the solution.”
Senator Nancy Detert said, “This is great news for our region. Thanks to Governor Scott and Secretary Prasad not only will this interchange provide daily drivers increased safety, it will improve traffic flow in the event of a hurricane evacuation.”
Senator Bill Galvano said, “I want to thank Governor Scott and Secretary Prasad for their hard work locating the funds to accelerate this project. This interchange will provide much-needed jobs during construction and continued economic development for years after completion.”
Representative Seth McKeel said, “Governor Scott and Secretary Prasad understood the urgent need for this new interchange and worked tirelessly to secure the funding. That is government working for the people.”
Representative Ed Hooper said, “This is great news for our region. I’m thankful Governor Scott and Secretary Prasad understood the need for this interchange and worked to advance the project.”
Representative Doug Holder said, “With the completion of University Town Center and the upcoming World Rowing Championships this project is a solution for our future travel needs for years to come. I thank Governor Scott for working to accelerate this project.”
Representative Jim Boyd said, “Thanks to Governor Scott, travelers will enjoy increased traffic flow and added safety while traveling. We are excited to have the first Diverging Diamond Interchange in the state of Florida. This will benefit residents, commuters and travelers with a safer more efficient interchange. This is vital to the area with the opening of the new University Town Center and Benderson Rowing Center, which are both economic drivers for the region.”
Representative Ray Pilon said, “I am happy to hear that Governor Scott and Secretary Prasad secured funding for this much needed project. Thanks to them travelers, commuters and pedestrians will have a safer more efficient interchange. This project is also critical for the ongoing economic growth surrounding this interchange.”
Representative Greg Steube said, “I want to thank Governor Scott and Secretary Prasad for listening to the needs of Floridians in Sarasota and Manatee Counties and working with legislators to secure the necessary funding for this much-needed project.”
Secretary Ananth Prasad said, “The Florida Department of Transportation is thankful for the leadership of Governor Scott in helping to secure funding for this needed improvement. It is because of his efforts we are able to accelerate this project and improve traffic congestion for motorists.”
When final funding is secured, construction on the interchange may begin as early as next summer. Completion of the project will precede the World Rowing Championships in 2017.