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Work has begun on the next phase of a Suncoast Parkway expansion in Citrus County

A car perspective along the Suncoast Parkway with a red car to the side, driving down a road with a small hill.
Steve Newborn
/
WUSF Public Media
One of its largest sections between US 98 and State Road 44 opened last year, connecting US 98 in Hernando County with SR 44 in Citrus County.

It will provide a more direct route connecting Citrus, Hernando, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.

The Florida Turnpike Enterprise is continuing its work along the Suncoast Parkway as it looks to ease some congestion in Citrus County.

The project — dubbed Suncoast Parkway 2 Phase 2 — will create a three-mile parkway extension between State Road 44 and County Road 486 in the Lecanto and Citrus Hills area.

The goal is to provide a more direct route connecting Citrus, Hernando, Pasco and Hillsborough counties. The project is estimated to cost roughly $103 million.

The project will also include an expansion of the Suncoast Trail, a greenway which currently runs over 40 miles through Hillsborough, Pasco, and Hernando counties.

The outline for where the road will be created on a gray map.
Via FDOT
Outline for the segment being built between State Road 44 and County Road 486

In total, it will include:

  • Completing the interchange at SR 44 to accommodate northbound traffic movements. Construction for southbound traffic movements is currently underway as part of the Suncoast Parkway 2 from US 98 to SR 44.
  • An at-grade intersection at CR 486
  • One SR 589 mainline, Electronic Tolling Collection (ETC) location
  • Related drainage, lighting, highway signing, traffic signalization, guardrail, and sidewalk.
  • The continuation of the Suncoast Trail, part of Florida’s Statewide Greenways and Trails System.

This is all part of the Suncoast Parkway, which has been in the works for years. One of its largest sections between US 98 and State Road 44 opened last year, connecting US 98 in Hernando County with SR 44 in Citrus County.

The last portion of the parkway being worked on will connect SR 44 to US 19. When that's complete, motorists will be able to drive from Tampa to Crystal River without a stoplight.

This new phase of the project creating the three-mile extension is expected to be complete by 2026.

As a host and reporter for WUSF, my goal is to unearth and highlight issues that wouldn’t be covered otherwise. If I truly connect with my audience as I relay to them the day’s most important stories and make them think about an issue past the point that I’ve said it in a newscast, that’s a success in my eyes.