Source:  Sarasota Herald-Tribune, January 27, 2010

Honore Avenue gets a due date

SARASOTA COUNTY: Final segment of 19-mile road will be finished in 2013

Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 8:56 p.m.
The long-awaited completion of Honore Avenue's 19 miles from Manatee County to Venice finally has a completion date: September 2013.
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Plans to turn Honore Avenue into a third north-south road to complement Interstate 75 and U.S. 41 have been on the books nearly 50 years. But until the recent depression in road construction costs, county officials had considered the Honore project as something that would take decades to complete.

"I didn't think I'd see it in my lifetime," said Commissioner Nora Patterson.

The final 3.7-mile segment of Honore will use more than a mile of the southbound lanes of Interstate 75, which are being abandoned by the state as part of its project to widen the interstate to six lanes and shift the highway to the east. The I-75 project is scheduled to be done by March 2012.

That stretch of I-75 will be turned into a two-lane section of Honore.

Three years ago the county estimated it would cost perhaps $90 million to acquire the land and build the last segment. But most of the land needed was acquired for $11 million from the state as part of its plan to shift the interstate to the east.

Meanwhile, construction costs plummeted and last year county engineers estimated the last segment could be built for $14 million.

But Palmer Ranch Holdings, which started construction on the second-to-last segment of Honore in December, has agreed to build the northern third of the final segment as well. The county will pay $2.6 million for that 1.2-mile stretch. Based on that figure, costs for the final two-thirds of the project could be much lower than expected, said Jim Harriott, the county's director of public works.

"It could come down quite a bit from that," Harriott said of last year's $14 million estimate.



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