YOU PAID FOR IT: $23M Ulmerton Rd. project has gone on longer than WWII

Construction workers on Ulmerton Rd.
Drivers on Ulmerton Road in Largo
Drivers on Ulmerton Road in Largo

LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) — It took less time for America to win World War II than it has taken Florida’s Department Of Transportation contractors to finish a 2.28-mile widening of Ulmerton Road.

So far, that state-funded road widening project that You Paid For has been underway four years, nine months and 21 days. If WWII had started the same day as this project, it would have ended last October. But along Ulmerton Road, there is no peace for motorists. That’s likely months away.

There are probably plenty of road warriors who’ve endured years of orange barrels and bumpy pavement who are ready to surrender the battlefield known as Ulmerton Road and find another way to commute.  The state urges patience.

“We are in final configuration, which is good news for motorists,” DOT spokesperson Kris Carson said.

Allow 8 On Your Side to translate.

Ulmerton Road
Ulmerton Road

There are no more closed lanes or orange barrels slowing traffic between Wild Acres to the east and Cross Bayou to the west, but there are still plenty of bumps in the road because most of the roadway remains uneven, rough and grooved for final paving.

With this $23,587,559 DOT project, there have more than a few bumps in the road since construction began on January 30, 2012. The original low bid contractor Conalvias suddenly — and much to the surprise of the DOT — went broke earlier this year. Conalvias left behind all kinds of defects the new contractor had to fix before making some mistakes of its own.

Carson insists that’s all part of the road-building business and motorists need to be more patient. “We understand motorists are frustrated,” Carson said. “But, the final product has to be something the DOT will accept.”

A quality job would be nice considering that taxpayers are forking over $1,959 a linear foot to complete the Ulmerton Road widening. Carson says that’s a bargain for a road project. Carson also blamed summer rains for delaying the final paving. She estimates completion around three months from now.

If you’re marking your calendar, Carson estimates that victory over Ulmerton Day will arrive sometime before Thanksgiving, if all goes well from this point on. “We want to make sure before they walk off this project the taxpayers are getting a quality project,” Carson said.

Meanwhile, if it looks like no one is making any progress on the Ulmerton Road job site, Carson says that’s because the construction crews are paving at night to avoid tying up traffic and aggravating motorists during peak hours. Of course, that work grinds to a halt anytime it rains.


Contact the Florida Department of Transportation Secretary:

If you’d like to share your comments about the Ulmerton Road project or send a complaint to Florida DOT Secretary Jim Boxold, here’s how to reach him. Please copy me at mdouglas@wfla so I can follow-up on your concerns.

Florida DOT Secretary Jim Boxold

Address: 

605 Suwanee St.
Tallahassee, FL  32399

Phone numbers: 

(850) 414-4100
Toll-Free (866) 374-3368

Email: 

jim.boxold@dot.state.fl.us

Boxold LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-boxold-5810a46

DOT agency contacts:
http://www.dot.state.fl.us/agencyresources/contactus.shtm

DOT district public affairs office:
FDOT-D7PIO@dot.state.fl.us

MORE YOU PAID FOR IT INVESTIGATIONS-

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