ABC Action News reports on a lot of construction projects in our effort to Drive Tampa Bay Forward. But most times, we don’t see a finished project for a while. That’s leading some people to ask us why that is.
Florida Department of Transportation District Seven spokesperson Kris Carson says the question is common, but the answer isn’t simple.
“There’s a lot that goes into it,” said Carson. “The process takes almost ten years from an idea to when it’s actually built.”
There are essentially five phases. In the planning stage, counties and metropolitan planning organizations come up with a list of projects they really want completed and determine if funds are available.
In the project development and environment stage, FDOT looks at the possible environmental, economic, social and historical effects. That process can take up to two years. During that time, meetings and workshops are held to gauge public opinion.
Then tack on another two years for the design phase.
“Once the design is done, you move into the right-of-way phase,” Carson said.
In this stage, land must be acquired at fair market value. It can also take two years.
“Once the right-of-way is purchased, you can finally move into the construction phase,” Carson said.
Construction can range anywhere from a year to five years, depending on the scope of the project. Carson understands how the lengthy process can be frustrating for some people.
“People are dealing with congestion everywhere so they want to see improvements," said Carson. "We all do."