A third amendment to a transportation agreement between Hillsborough County and the City of Plant City has allotted $3 million toward the Turkey Creek Road Enhancement Project.
The city received $3 million from the Amended and Restated Transportation Grant Agreement between Hillsborough County and the City to help continue the work on Turkey Creek Road.
In May 2013 the City entered into an Amended and Restated Transportation Grant Agreement to reallocate funds toward two Plant City projects. One of those projects was to enhance the Turkey Creek roadway. The original agreement provided $5.3 million toward the two projects. The goal for Turkey Creek was to add turn lanes, sidewalks, drainage systems, utility extension, ditch closures and other enhancements to the roadway. In February 2014 the city and county entered the first amendment to extend the terms of the agreement until Feb. 2018. On Sept. 2014 they entered a second amendment to alter the description of the other project, which was unrelated to Turkey Creek’s road enhancement.
However, once 2018 officially arrived the estimated costs for the Turkey Creek Road Enhancement Project exceeded the total allocated funds. The City of Plant City requested more funds to soften the blow of the monetary shortage. In response the third amendment to the agreement was proposed, which provided the $3 million and extended the term until February 2022.
“Now we’ve finally come to the point where additional funds provided by the county will go with the first (several million dollars) to take that project, expand it and put three lanes on Turkey Creek Road and the road intersection improvement through the signal light at Turkey Creek and … Airport,” Commissioner Bill Dodson said. “It’s been a long time coming so I’m really excited about that. I think it will make a great difference.”
The hope is the final amendment will help bring the project to a close. Turkey Creek is a road frequented by both industrial and residential traffic and acts as a major roadway for the city. The studies the city has observed over the years has indicated the changes need to be done and with the proper financial support that may soon become a reality.
“This is a long-standing project and all this vote was, was the mechanism by which the county will put that $3 million into the project,” City Manager Bill McDaniel said.
The Turkey Creek Road Enhancement Project has been underway for years and while many changes have already been accomplished there is still much to do. The end goal is to make Turkey Creek a three-lane roadway from Sydney Road to the CSX Railroad right-of-way just south of SR 574. The project will help straighten Airport and put a signal at Airport and Turkey Creek. One of the major changes already accomplished was the addition of the signal at Sydney and Turkey Creek, which has gone a long way toward keeping the flow of traffic steady and prevent accidents at that major intersection.
Design and other issues stretched the completion date of the project out. Around 2016, under former City Manager Mike Herr, the city ran into an issue with the design where the land they intended to use as a retention pond for the project ended up not being able to be used, causing the city to have to use funds to purchase another property in the area for the purpose.
“It’s just been one thing after another,” McDaniel said.