Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State Road 56 extension in Wesley Chapel may open sooner than expected

WESLEY CHAPEL — The long delayed State Road 56 extension might be allowed to open soon without state-required intersection improvements that were contributing to the holdup.

A representative for the Florida Department of Transportation said Friday that officials are working on a way to open the 3-mile stretch of highway even though additional lanes have not been built.

"We're working to try to get it open before school starts," DOT spokeswoman Kristen Carson said. She added that road is built but still lacks a friction coat of asphalt and striping.

Engineers hope to find a temporary fix to ensure the intersection at SR 56 and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard will function properly so the highway, which will run past two schools, can open before classes resume Aug. 24.

Until now, DOT officials had said the road, which will link Mansfield Boulevard in Meadow Pointe to SR 56 and the Shops at Wiregrass, could not open until improvements at the Bruce B. Downs intersection were completed. That intersection, set to be 10 lanes, will be among the largest in Florida, DOT officials have said.

The entire expansion, when complete, will extend east to Meadow Pointe Boulevard.

The project, to be paid for by developers, was supposed to be finished by September but has been delayed by disputes among developers and utilities and local officials.

In March 2008, officials originally promised the entire stretch would be open in 18 months.

The first leg, from Bruce B. Downs to Mansfield, was supposed to be done when the mall opened Oct. 30, but developers were able to complete only the stretch adjacent to the mall.

The most recent delay was due to haggling over utility lines. Tampa Electric Co., which owns the lines, says the project is being done by developers, and the utility should be reimbursed for moving the lines so the intersection improvements can be made. The utility estimated the cost of moving the lines at $600,000 and said its 667,000 customers should not be forced to bear that burden.

The county and DOT maintain that the project is public, and Tampa Electric is liable for the costs of moving its lines.

Tampa Electric spokesman Rick Morera said Friday that the parties still were working to resolve the issue.

County officials have said the expansion is critical in order to give drivers on State Road 54 an alternate road when crews begin widening that highway.

Lisa Buie can be reached at or (813) 909-4604.

State Road 56 extension in Wesley Chapel may open sooner than expected 06/05/09 [Last modified: Friday, June 5, 2009 8:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. South Korea military: North Korea fires unidentified projectile


    SEOUL — North Korea launched a ballistic missile early today that flew 280 miles and landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, the South Korean military and the Japanese government said.

    S. Korean President Moon Jae-in is assessing the launch.
  2. Rays blow lead, rally, blow lead, rally again to beat Twins in 15 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays sure made it interesting Sunday, taking an early lead, watching their beleaguered bullpen blow it, rallying to tie in the ninth, battling the Twins to take a lead in the 14th then giving it up again.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 28: Evan Longoria #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates scoring a run against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on May 28, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010990
  3. Marijuana extract sharply cuts seizures in severe form of epilepsy


    An oil derived from the marijuana plant sharply reduces violent seizures in young people suffering from a rare, severe form of epilepsy, according to a study published last week that gives more hope to parents who have been clamoring for access to the medication.

  4. 'I ain't fit to live': Police say Mississippi gunman kills 8


    BROOKHAVEN, Miss. — A man who got into an argument with his estranged wife and her family over his children was arrested Sunday in a house-to-house shooting rampage in rural Mississippi that left eight people dead, including his mother-in-law and a sheriff's deputy.

    People embrace Sunday outside the Bogue Chitto, Miss., house where eight people were killed during a shooting rampage Saturday in Lincoln County, Miss.
  5. Kushner's Russia ties questioned as Trump cites media 'lies'


    WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats on Sunday demanded to hear directly from top White House adviser Jared Kushner over allegations of proposed secret back-channel communications with Russia, saying the security clearance of President Donald Trump's son-in-law may need to be revoked.