Although the project is not scheduled for a decade, state road planners are already working on the long-anticipated four-laning of U.S. Highway 17, north of DeLeon Springs.
“It’s currently in design, but it’s funded for construction in 2029,” Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jessica Ottaviano told The Beacon.
The FDOT has contracted with Stantec Consulting Services Inc. to design and engineer the road-widening. There will be more than more lanes.
“There will be drainage improvements and a shared-use path, or trail, on the right side of the road,” Ottaviano said.
The FDOT is also planning to build a roundabout at the intersection of U.S. 17 and Spring Garden Ranch Road in conjunction with the widening. There will be wildlife crossings in the Deep Creek Bridges area and close to the Heart Island Conservation Area.
The FDOT is already acquiring more right of way along the corridor between DeLeon Springs Boulevard and Barberville.
On Oct. 15, the Volusia County Council agreed to sell two parcels between DeLeon Springs and Barberville to the FDOT.
In exchange for the 68 acres, the state agency will contribute $281,512.50 to the county’s Volusia Forever fund and pay $101,087.50 to the St. Johns River Water Management District, which co-owns the land with the county.
The current estimated costs of four-laning the 6.8 miles between DeLeon Springs and Barberville, include $16 million for right of way, and $46 million for construction.
The construction figure will likely change before the additional lanes are actually built, and the date of construction could change, too, Ottaviano said.
While it’s programmed for 2029, she explained, “our programming is always tentative.”
FDOT responds to the priorities set by local transportation-planning boards, so projects can move up or out on the schedule as those priorities and local needs are determined.
The 2018 traffic count — the latest data available — shows an average daily volume of 9,000 vehicles use the stretch of U.S. 17 between State Road 40 in Barberville and Lake Winona Road.