85 F
Ocala
Monday, April 15, 2024

How long will US 441 be under construction?

A project to improve a stretch of U.S. Hwy 441/S Pine Avenue has been creating traffic jams at one of Ocala’s busiest intersections.

Florida Department of Transportation Project 433661-1 calls for “traffic operation improvements” to “improve the life of the pavement” along U.S. 441/South Pine Avenue, between SW 3rd Street and NW 2nd Street.

According to the state, the travel lanes are being milled and resurfaced, and the turn lane is being widened along the stretch.

Crews are working to implement a dual left turn from northbound U.S. 441 to S.R. 40, extend the left turn lane from southbound U.S. 441 to S.R. 40, and extend the northbound left turn from U.S. 441 to NW 2nd Street.

According to FDOT, the project also calls for minor drainage, pedestrian, sidewalk, intersection, and signalization improvements.

Although the state’s website still indicates that lane closures and slowdowns will last 24 hours a day through April 30, Ocala officials have confirmed that construction will last through May.

“First, I want to clarify this is a state road so this is a state project being run by the Department of Transportation, not the city,” reads a statement posted to social media by Ocala Mayor Ben Marciano.

Traffic backed up on U.S. 441 as seen by Mayor Ben Marciano
Mayor Ben Marciano shared this photo of backed up traffic on U.S. Hwy 441/S Pine Avenue on March 28, 2024. (Photo: Ocala Mayor Ben Marciano)

Marciano, who was sworn in as mayor in December, stated that he spoke with the department and was told the delay was due to “several unforseen issues.”

“They are scheduled to complete the project by the end of May,” said Marciano in his post.

In the past few days, readers have written to Ocala-News.com to share their thoughts on the project.

“I understand the new traffic lights being installed but the reduction to 2 lanes of travel lanes has been going on for well long enough time. You pass by there, and there are 3 to 4 workers, and they seem to be standing there on their cell phones. Maybe DOT needs to give a little kick in the Butt on some progress,” said John Vetter, a Reddick resident, in a letter to the editor.

For more information or questions on this project, visit the Florida Department of Transportation Central Florida Roads website.