Manatee County residents and visitors should find the newly opened stretch of Ft. Hamer Road a welcome improvement to their commute.
“The amount of homes that are dropping in the roads can’t take it 301 gets so congested. It’s dangerous down here. They don’t have the lights in place,” said Chad, a local of Manatee County.
Neal Land and Neighborhoods and Manatee County collaborated on the design and construction of a new portion of Ft. Hamer road as part of a public-private partnership. It connects US 301 to North River Ranch Trail, which is located north of Moccasin Wallow Road. There are a total of 3.65 miles in this segment.
“It’s how it really should be If you’re talking about laying out a project like this you really should have the infrastructure put in first and put in the houses where typically seems like they do it the opposite,” said Chad.
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Neal constructed the road despite Manatee’s $16 million investment. Which resulted in much lower costs for the county than they could have been. Neals’ North River Ranch development can be reached through the new road.
“It’s a huge alleviation. We shouldn’t have to get on the interstate in order to drive north and south in this county, that’s the whole problem with our interstate system,” John Neal, president of Neal Land and Neighborhoods, made this statement.
According to Neal, the highway is the longest route from north to south in three counties located east of the interstate. Now, people can go from Parrish to Venice, which is located further south.
“It is a major success because it will allow a bypass of the village of Parrish into where most of the development is taken care of. The village of Parrish has suffered a bit during this growing pain time with the new Parrish community high school up here and some people having limited options to get to the high school,” said Chad Butzow the director of Manatee County Public Works.
Residents have expressed optimism about the future, noting that a new university campus, hospital, and shopping centers are all in the works. Ft. Hamer Road will be extended westward to Interstate 75 over the course of two more stages. It may take three to four years to finish.
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