Dear Editor

Published on: May 22, 2019

Update from FDOT on U.S. 301 construction

Dear Editor,

I and many of my friends and neighbors here in Sun City Center have been wondering about the construction of U.S. 301 from S.R. 674 to Balm Road (C.R. 672), since we all use that route at least several times a week. I finally contacted Ms. Harris at FDOT Tampa, and she was kind enough to take the time to provide quite an extensive explanation. I thought The Observer News might like to reprint her response for the benefit of your readership.

Mike Galbreath, SCC

Good morning Mr. Galbreath,

The appearance that the project has come to a halt is attributable to the testing of two major utilities, which have been installed as part of the project. The testing, which has proved to be a very lengthy process (it began in December 2018), must be completed, and the lines tied in before work can proceed. During the testing period, the contractor continued other work until it could no longer proceed.

One of the lines, the last section of new 36” water main from Big Bullfrog Creek south to SR 674, was successfully tied in two weeks ago. You should have noticed an upswing in activities in that area in the last couple of weeks – removal of the existing water main and drainage installation. As the drainage is completed, road building will begin.

The other line, the last section of the new 20” force (sewer) main from Big Bullfrog Creek to just south of Balm Road, is approaching completion of testing with tie-in expected mid-month or before (possibly next week). After tie-in, you will see an upswing in activities in that area, also.

The contractor is also focusing on the area north and south of the new bridge with an eye towards a traffic shift that will allow for the demolition of the existing bridge and completion of the southbound segment of the new bridge.

Addressing your question about the contractor, Astaldi did, indeed, default on this project (and others) in late March. A performance bond is required on any FDOT project. With the contractor’s default, the surety company takes over the project. On this project, the surety has appointed an interim management company to serve until a completion contractor is named. The interim management company has been charged with (by the surety) keeping the project moving forward.

Alene S. Harris, Project Oversite II

FDOT Tampa Operations

Mary Petro Fund office moving

After seven years being located at and supported by the South Shore United Church of Christ (SSUCC) on LaJolla Avenue, the Mary Petro Fund office is moving to the United Methodist Church (UMC) on West Del Webb, effective May 1.

As director of the fund for the past several years, I would like to thank the Tampa Bay Community Foundation for monthly Mary Petro Fund grant support, the office staff at SSUCC, our dedicated volunteers, and all the community clubs, organizations and individuals who have helped our neighbors from Sun City Center and Kings Point with their food and medical needs. I am very grateful for the support provided us and will forever be amazed at what tremendous support services are available within Sun City Center. I know that the UMC will continue this tradition and will keep providing our less fortunate residents with assistance in meeting their basic daily needs.

Don Hinderliter