BROOKSVILLE — Work is beginning on a project designed to stop flooding of the Suncoast Parkway the next time heavy rain such as that from Tropical Storm Debby slogs through the region.
Crews on Monday arrived to prepare the site at the north end of the parkway, just south of the junction with U.S. 98 in Hernando County, said Christa Deason, a spokeswoman for Florida's Turnpike Enterprise.
The workers' main job will be to expand a drainage retention basin swamped by Debby's deluge in late June. Floodwaters covered all four lanes of the toll road. At one point, at least 5 feet of water covered the northbound lanes.
Turnpike Enterprise brought in large pumps to move water from the basin to a dry area to the north. The pumping required the closure of the Suncoast Trail, the bike path that runs between the road and the basin.
The flooding was caused by a combination of extremely heavy rain and runoff from properties to the north and east.
The work to fix the problem will cost about $1 million. It will be completed — hopefully by September — along with a project to resurface the parkway in Hernando County and install a high-tension cable barrier in the median, Deason said.
Plans for a second phase of the parkway include an overpass at U.S. 98, which will raise the segment of the road flooded during Debby. Turnpike Enterprise is still in the process of buying right-of-way for the project, and construction is still years away.
Reach Tony Marrero at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1431. Follow @tmarrerotimes on Twitter.