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New intersection will rival nation's largest
By Times Staff Writer
Published December 29, 2007
Work is expected to start by the end of January on a $60-million project to extend State Road 56 and create the biggest intersection in the Tampa Bay area.
The project's engineers are even saying that the enlarged junction of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and SR 56 would be the second-largest in the country, trailing only one in Las Vegas.
The cost for the project is shared by the Porter family - the Porters need the traffic improvements to accommodate their 5,000-acre Wiregrass Ranch - and the developers of the neighboring communities of Wesley Chapel Lakes and Seven Oaks.
David Evans, a friend of the Porter family and a former top executive at Pinellas' Lansbrook Development Corp., was brought in to force the pace on the road project. He pointed out that the 250-foot right of way on each side of the intersection would eventually stretch 12 lanes wide.
Dwayne Kile, the state engineer who oversees design for Tampa Bay area projects, said the 250-foot right of way is only about 100 feet less than what state officials would require for the width of interstate highway projects.
Bruce B. Downs will cover eight lanes south of SR 56. Every direction of traffic will get three left-turn lanes, said Kris Carson, the Transportation Department's spokeswoman.
By the numbers
12 The number of lanes at the widest part of the intersection.
250 Feet of right of way for each side of the intersection
8 The number of lanes for Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, south of SR 56.