TAVARES — The Lake County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a contract Tuesday with DeWitt Excavating of Orlando to construct the 2.5-mile South Lake Connector.
The valuable commuter link will provide a connection between Lakeshore Drive and Citrus Tower Boulevard. The $13.1 million contract, which includes plans for a retention pond and a privacy wall at Spring Valley Subdivision, is believed to be the most expensive transportation project ever for Lake County. Construction plans include a four-lane paved road with curbs, gutters and bicycle lanes.
“This pipeline will shuttle traffic out to U.S. Highway 27,” said Jim Stivender, Director of Lake County Department of Public Works. “We expect substantially less traffic on Lake Louisa Road and Lakeshore Drive when this project is completed.”
According to Stivender, traffic counts are high for both Lake Louisa Road and Lakeshore Drive; about 13,000 and 5,000 cars a day, respectively.
The connection on Lakeshore Drive will be made just west of the Lake Louisa Road intersection, near Lake Minnehaha. The tie into Citrus Tower Boulevard will be just east of U.S. Highway 27. The project is expected to start in 45 to 60 days and take more than one year to complete.
“I thank staff for many, many years of trying to acquire land and move this project forward — it takes a long time,” said Lake County Commissioner Bob Pool. “I remember as Mayor of Clermont identifying this transportation need. Looking back, it appears many of these improvements are coming forward.”