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DOT plans hearing on truck weigh stations

A public meeting worked a year ago. Now, some Seffner residents are hoping it'll work again.

On Thursday, residents living near Interstate 4 will get the chance to voice their displeasure with two truck weigh stations the Florida Department of Transportation plans to build near their homes.

The $20.8-million project calls for construction of two weigh-in motion stations, through which about 15,000 trucks would pass without stopping each day.

The facilities would replace and improve upon existing stations near Plant City. Construction is scheduled to begin in April 2007 on both sides of I-4 near Kingsway Road, between the Mango Road and McIntosh Road exits.

It's the first public hearing devoted solely to the stations since last March, when a group of residents turned out to protest; their objections led to concessions such as a new design and less intrusive light and loudspeaker systems.

"We went from impacting a total of 35 parcels (of land), and we are down to impacting like five," said DOT project manager Manuel Santos. "There's no rest area, there's no comfort station, there's no truck stop."

That's not good enough for some residents, who believe any light, any noise, any added truck traffic is too much.

"Out of all the potential locations for this, they place it here," said Terry Flott, who lives near the site of the southernmost station. "This is a recipe for disaster."

Flott said the new stations could result in more traffic on U.S. 92, which passes, among other things, Armwood High School and Burnett Middle School.

Santos said the DOT surveyed 11 locations between Interstate 75 and U.S. 27 in Polk County before deciding upon Seffner.

"Based on all the criteria _ environmental issues, cost of right of way, distance between interchanges _ this was by far the preferred site," he said.

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