CITRUS PARK — On Monday, more than 100 homeowners got their first glimpse at a $67-million, 2.82-mile east-west connector between Countryway Boulevard and Sheldon Road.
Hillsborough County held a public meeting at Sickles High and unveiled the design of the so-called Citrus Park Drive Extension, a four-lane road that will pass by Deer Park Elementary and through five residential developments — Fawn Ridge, Key West Circle, Mandolin Reserve, Mandolin Estates and Windsor Place.
Currently, Citrus Park Drive connects with Gunn Highway just west of the Veterans Expressway, runs south of Westfield Citrus Park mall and stops at Sheldon Road.
It picks back up just east of Deer Park Elementary, then ends at Countryway Boulevard.
To reach that side of Citrus Park Drive, commuters must cut through Linebaugh Avenue or S Mobley Road. The extension will take cars off those busy side streets.
According to a county video presentation:
• A typical section will include four, 12-foot travel lanes, bicycle lanes and sidewalks.
• New turn lanes will be added at the Citrus Park Drive-Sheldon Road intersection.
• A cul-de-sac will be carved south of the extension on Fawn Ridge Boulevard. A signal will go up at the Fawn Ridge Boulevard intersection.
• Montague Street will not grow, but a short access road for Hillsborough County Water Resource Services personnel will be created. A pedestrian signal and crossing will be installed west of that access road.
• Sidewalks will be provided west of the access road on both sides of the extension to Countryway Boulevard.
• The extension may pass over a trail for pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrians.
• A traffic signal will be placed at Deer Park Elementary.
Fawn Ridge homeowners worried the improvements would bump against their back yards. The county plans to address those concerns by eliminating sidewalks on the south side and creating wider ones on the north end. It also plans to do some landscaping.
"It's the best of a bad situation," said Barbara Dawes, who lives in Fawn Ridge. "Our concern was to try to pull the road off the homes. I think they have attempted to do that as best they can."
The design of the Citrus Park Drive Extension is 60 percent complete, with a target finish of spring 2009.
The county will advertise the project for construction in early 2010. Construction should last two years.
"This will certainly bring relief to Westchase with reduced traffic on Linebaugh," said Vaidy Subbaraman, who has lived in the northwest Hillsborough suburb for 11 years.
Rodney Thrash can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 269-5303.