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Linebaugh Construction to See February Completion

It’s been one of the most disruptive, controversial construction projects in Westchase history.

And this month, fingers crossed, it will end.

The nearly year-long construction on Linebaugh Avenue between Radcliffe Drive and Montague Street aimed to replace a leaking and failing reclaimed water main. The contractor, Westra, had an inauspicious start last April when its original median cut-outs for Linebaugh Avenue, aimed at keeping two lanes of traffic flowing on the road, were abruptly shut down by Hillsborough County as too dangerous.

It was back to the drawing board, which resulted in delays and significantly longer cut-outs that allowed more gradual lane changes.

But the controversies didn’t end there.

As Category 4 Hurricane Irma threatened Tampa Bay in September, Westchase leaders and residents protested that Westra and Hillsborough County inadequately prepared the site for the storm, leaving behind heavy barrels and port-o-potties to potentially become airborne and threaten nearby homes in West Park Village and The Fords.

Soon after, citing traffic delays and near rear-end collisions from left turns off Linebaugh, county officials temporarily banned eastbound Linebaugh from turning into The Fords, forcing its residents to drive down to Montague Street to make U-turns. County officials and Westra announced the ban would be in place for two months, but it remained for months after the originally promised two-month period ended.

In January, word finally came that the project, which the county originally announced would take a full year, would be concluding a few months earlier than May.

Hillsborough County informed the community that Westchase’s reclaimed water service was shut off from Tuesday, Jan. 16 through Thursday, Jan. 18. The interruption was necessary for one of the finishing touches. Westra was tying the new pipe into existing smaller lines serving Gretna Green and Montague Street. Once the new pipe is connected and tested successfully (which was slated to occur after the deadline for February’s WOW), Westra stated it would wrap up construction and begin restoring the Linebaugh median and the road’s lanes to their original appearance. 

In a Jan. 11 email to Hillsborough County Project Manager Jim Duncan, Westra Project Manager Matt Hester estimated that the original Linebaugh traffic pattern will be restored by Feb. 19 – including left turns into The Fords.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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