WESLEY CHAPEL — For those wondering when they will see progress on the Interstate 75 interchange with State Road 56, the project known as the diverging diamond, state road officials have announced work will resume next week.
The project is one of seven abandoned when the previous contractor, D.A.B. Constructors, defaulted earlier this summer. In business for over 30 years, the Levy County company closed its doors and let more than 400 workers go.
Since that time, the Florida Department of Transportation has been working with D.A.B. surety bond companies to secure and maintain the construction sites and find new contractors to finish what amounts to tens of millions of dollars in major road projects stretching from Hillsborough to Citrus counties.
“FDOT District Secretary David Gwynn informed me that a new contractor has been hired by the surety company to complete the diverging diamond Interchange,” said Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore, who represents the district where the project has been stalled.
“I’ve only heard good things about the chosen contractor, and everyone seems confident they’ll do an excellent job completing the project in a timely manner. I’ve been told they will begin by next week if not sooner,” Moore said in an email.
The diverging diamond is an important project for Pasco, and local officials have kept a close eye on the work there as it fell behind schedule. It was hoped the project would be completed before the upcoming winter season.
The company chosen is Superior Construction Company Southeast, LLC. It is the same contractor currently working on the realignment of State Road 52 in eastern Pasco County, a state road official told the Pasco County Legislative Delegation last week.
The State Road 52 realignment work is new road construction from Uradco Place to west of Fort King Road. That project, which carries a price tag of $81 million, is ahead of schedule, the state road official said.
State transportation records show that the work began in November of 2019 and is expected to be done in July 2023. However, most of the work is already completed, with $62 million already paid to the contractor.
A pre-construction meeting was held on the diverging diamond project with the new contractor on Sept. 3. During that meeting, the contractor said they expected to start work on Sept. 13, according to Kris Carson, spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation.
Survey work will take place to prepare for the start of construction and the interim maintenance contractor hired by the state continues to maintain the work site with emphasis on mowing, litter removal and maintenance of other aspects of the construction site, Carson said.
Other former D.A.B. projects are in various stages of reassignment to new companies.
In Hillsborough, the Sam Allen Road project is expected to have a new contractor soon. The same is true for Pasco widening projects on State Road 52 between the Suncoast Parkway and U.S. 41 and State Road 54 between Curley Road and Morris Bridge Road.
Three separate projects to improve and widen 18 miles of U.S. 19 in Citrus County have a somewhat longer timeline, according to the project update provided by Carson. Deficiencies in one stretch of the project need to be addressed, and issues raised by local residents about the construction project improperly draining into the Halls River in Homosassa are being addressed, Carson said.