STARKE, Fla. - Travelers along U.S. 301 in Bradford County will soon have another way to get around.
Work on the Starke Truck Route began in August 2016, and will give drivers a way to bypass downtown Starke and the heavy traffic.
The 7.3-mile-long, four-lane route begins at County Road 233 and ends at County Road 227, with interchanges at State Road 100 and State Road 16.
Progress could be seen Thursday along the Starke Truck Route. Part of the roadway is ready to be paved and interchange signs are posted.
The Florida Department of Transportation says things are on track.
"If you've ever been on U.S. 301 through Starke, you know how busy it is," said Troy Roberts, FDOT communications specialist. "It's not just personal vehicles, it's a lot of truck traffic."
Roberts says roughly 25,000 to 30,000 vehicles travel along U.S. 301 in Starke each day. That's more than the traffic along Interstate 10 north of Lake City, which carries about 23,000 vehicles per day.
FDOT says the bypass has been a longtime coming.
"This is a project we've worked on with Bradford County and the city of Starke since the early '90s -- that dream project to alleviate some of that congestion," Roberts said. "Getting the trucks off the road will help motorists and make their drives easier whether they're on the truck route or on U.S. 301."
Currently, drivers heading south have to manage a sharp detour and curve on the north and south ends of the construction zone until the road is finished. FDOT urges drivers to pay attention to the posted speed limits and use caution.
The $90 million is expected to be completed by summer 2019.
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