New plans in place for four-lane roads from Villages of Lakewood Ranch South to Fruitville, plus an I-75 connector

Agreement with Schroeder-Manatee Ranch also permits better water/wastewater infrastructure planning, county staff says

Isaac Brownman. Photo courtesy Sarasota County
Isaac Brownman. Photo courtesy Sarasota County

Schroeder-Manatee Ranch (SMR) will pay Sarasota County $4,339,638 for its proportional share of road improvements related to its Villages of Lakewood Ranch South project, but the county will reimburse the firm out of revenue derived from mobility fees imposed on construction within the development, based on an agreement that has won unanimous County Commission approval.

The original agreement between SMR and the county — executed in October 2013 — called for SMR to pay up to $7.5 million.

In conjunction with the road projects, Chief County Engineer Isaac Brownman explained to the County Commission during its regular meeting on May 10 that the county has coordinated with the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority to request that SMR double the size of the 12-inch water main planned on Lorraine Road from Fruitville Road to University Parkway. The larger structure will accommodate future development related to the Villages of Lakewood Ranch South, Brownman pointed out. The combined water/wastewater work is estimated at $9.3 million, which will be covered by the county and paid back by utility customers, a May 10 staff memo says.

About 6,100 dwelling units are to be built, for which the county will be the service provider, Brownman explained.

Regarding the transportation projects: The funding from SMR will help pay for the design, permitting and construction of four lanes of both Lorraine Road and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, which will connect with Fruitville Road; and the design and permitting of an Interstate 75 overpass from Lakewood Ranch Boulevard to Cattlemen Road, Brownman told the commissioners on May 10.

The new construction will offer alternatives to drivers “rather than have all that traffic have to go through the [diverging diamond interchange, which is under construction at University Parkway] or through Fruitville Road,” Brownman explained.

The work also entails turn lanes on Fruitville Road at the Lorraine Road intersection and an eastbound, left turn lane at the Lorraine Road/Fruitville Road intersection, he added, “which is an important improvement.”

A graphic shows the routes of the four-lane roads. Image courtesy Sarasota County
A graphic shows the routes of the four-lane roads. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Estimates put the total cost of the Lakewood Ranch Boulevard project at $1,765,638, the memo notes, with $1,154,000 for the overpass work and $1,420,000 for the Lorraine Road project.

SMR owns the right of way needed for the Lorraine Road project from SMR’s southern boundary to Fruitville Road, the staff memo points out. “SMR representatives have met with all of the major landowners along the Lakewood Ranch Boulevard corridor as well,” the memo says.

Nonetheless, Brownman told the commissioners, if the county cannot acquire all of the right of way for the Lakewood Ranch Boulevard segment within five years, the obligation to undertake that part of the project will be terminated.

“This particular set of projects is an excellent example of really good advance planning,” Brownman told the board. “You really want to build out roadways earlier rather than later.”

A graphic shows the location of the utilities work. Image courtesy Sarasota County
A graphic shows the location of the utilities work. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Moreover, he pointed out, undertaking the utilities project at the same will prevent the disruption of neighborhoods more than once.

Chair Al Maio concurred about the water/wastewater plan, noting that as the board’s representative on the Peace River Authority, he has followed the planning for the “regional grid.”

“This is a major link,” Maio said, “and how nice to do it in the right of way of a roadway that’s under construction.”

After Commissioner Carolyn Mason made the motion to approve the amended transportation agreement and the utility agreement — with a second from Commissioner Christine Robinson — the motion passed with no further discussion.

“Get ’em built,” Maio told Brownman.