PLANT CITY — This year’s heavy rains have done more than make the grass grow tall.
Crews working to extend Alexander Street have lost 44 work days to weather. The completion of the nearly $14.8 million project has been delayed from early 2014 to mid-year.
“You’re at the mercy of the weather,” said Rolando Luis Jr., project administrator for URS, the state’s consultant that is overseeing the project.
He predicts the project will wrap up in July 2014, although the segment around Knights-Griffin Road will be ready for traffic around November.
The project — the largest current roadwork in the Plant City area — will extend Alexander Street from Interstate 4 to State Road 39.
Despite the bad weather, the road is taking shape.
The road will be four lanes with paved shoulders, and have a 55 mph speed limit north of Sam Allen Road, Luis said.
The road has features to improve travel times, such as traffic lights in only two locations: at Sam Allen Road and Knights-Griffin Road, he said.
“People will be able to get through there pretty quickly,” Luis said.
The work includes extending Alexander Street, which now dead-ends at I-4, north to link up with S.R. 39, also known as Paul Buchman Highway, at Knights-Griffin Road. In addition to the 2.6-mile extension, about .6 mile of existing S.R. 39 will be reconfigured as northbound traffic only, from just north of Joe McIntosh Road to Knights-Griffin Road.
The project has been in the planning and development stage for years.
Among other aspects of the project, the state had to purchase 62 parcels for the right of way.
The property purchased by the state for the new highway included 26 structures, mostly homes.