Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Weary drivers look forward to 2014 end of Boyette Road widening

RIVERVIEW — Kelley Smith is losing patience and worries her customers might go someplace else.

David Nicholson is sick of bumper-to-bumper traffic that results in a long commute.

Smith, Nicholson and many others are counting the days until the Boyette Road widening project is finally done.

Hillsborough County officials say the $56 million project is right on schedule and should be completed in about 18 months.

The county began widening the 4-mile stretch of Boyette Road between U.S. 301 and Bell Shoals Road from two to four lanes in 2005. The county split the project into three parts, the last of which is the 1 ½-mile section from McMullen Road to Bell Shoals.

County spokesman Steve Valdez said the project's target completion date is April 2014. He understands drivers and local business owners are frustrated because the road has been under construction for some time.

"It's a lot of work that needs to be done," he explained.

Valdez said Boyette is a huge project, involving not just widening the road to four lanes but also building two new bridges, a stormwater system, retention ponds, acquiring private property, utility relocation and adding sidewalks and bike lanes.

Smith, owner of animal grooming business Pawtopia, recognizes the widening project is needed but doesn't understand why it is taking so long. She said it is almost impossible to get to her shop during rush hour because traffic is bumper to bumper and construction crews are everywhere.

"It's a nightmare," said Smith, whose shop is on Boyette Road near Bell Shoals. "A lot of people complain. Our regular customers tough it out. But, we have not seen an increase in new people. They don't want to deal with it."

Valdez said the widening project will help improve what is already a heavily-traveled road.

County officials estimate that about 20,000 vehicles travel Boyette each day. The heavy traffic is due to growth in eastern Hillsborough, Valdez said, which includes Fishhawk Ranch in nearby Lithia. Traffic was often bumper to bumper before the project started, he said.

"People forget that was a rural area until about 20 years ago," he said. "(Now) it is absolutely a busy, busy hub."

In addition to commuters, there are four schools along Boyette between U.S. 301 and Bell Shoals. The most recent, Valrico Academy, a charter school, opened in 2011 near the corner of Boyette and Bell Shoals. New businesses have opened in recent years, too.

Valdez said the widening project is critical to improving traffic flow; cutting commute times; and improving access to local schools, businesses and restaurants.

When Nicholson moved to Fishhawk Ranch about 11 years ago, he said, a county official told him the widening project would not take long. More than a decade later and he's still waiting for its completion.

Nicholson, an attorney with Tampa Electric, is thrilled the project is almost over but wishes something could be done to speed up traffic in the meantime. It often takes him 50 minutes to get to his job in Tampa, much of that time spent waiting behind a long line of cars at Boyette and Bell Shoals.

"It's inconvenient," he said. "We're looking forward for it to be much better."

Valdez knows some aren't happy that the project impacts traffic and access to local businesses. He said they are doing their best to re-route traffic and accommodate businesses and asks everyone to be patient. He said other parts of Boyette are a motorist's dream.

"The sections we have improved are flowing nicely now," he said.

Weary drivers look forward to 2014 end of Boyette Road widening 10/06/12 [Last modified: Saturday, October 6, 2012 4:32am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. These two documents illustrate how Florida has made it harder to access inspection reports of nursing homes, heavily censoring what the public can see. In the foreground is a document obtained from a federal agency that details the findings of a Feb. 2016 inspection at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, where 10 patients died after Hurricane Irma. Behind it is the state's version of the same document, showing how it has been redacted before being released to the public. [Miami Herald]
  2. Amber Alert canceled after Bradenton siblings found in Alabama

    Public Safety

    An Amber Alert was canceled early Friday morning for four Bradenton siblings who were taken by their mother, who authorities said does not have custody of the children.

    An Amber Alert has been issued for four Bradenton siblings who were taken by their mother, who does not have custody of the children. [Florida Department of Law Enforcement]

  3. Cue the Scott Frost to Nebraska speculation


    Nebraska shook up the college sports world Thursday afternoon when it fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst.

    And that should scare UCF fans.

  4. Oh, Florida! Irma's gone, but she left behind plenty of lessons for us


    I don't want to make light of the misery and death that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Florida this month. A lot of it was ugly, and some of it was downright criminal. We saw greed and pettiness on display, and it brought illness and death.

    Tampa Bay Times staff writer Craig Pittman.
  5. Make-A-Wish Foundation aims to help more kids in Tampa Bay


    The Make-A-Wish Foundation is on the lookout for sick children in the Tampa Bay area who need a once-in-a-lifetime pick-me-up.

    Grace Savage, a 10-year-old girl with a chromosomal disorder made a trek to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium last year, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The foundation intends to beef up its presence in the Tampa Bay area after a reorganization. The region is now the responsibility of the foundation's Southern Florida chapter, one of the most active in the country, with more than 11,000 wishes granted so far. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times ]