US 27 and SR 60 Travel Lanes to Open Soon as Massive Project Enters Home Stretch
Four-Year Long Intersection Reconstruction Features Major Changes in Traffic Patterns
Last updated 1/22/2024 at 12:55pm
Driving around and through the Lake Wales area is expected to become much easier soon as the massive bridge replacement project at US 27 and SR 60 nears completion. Construction teams are preparing to apply the new "friction" pavement surfaces to both roadways and adjacent parts of Central Avenue.
New traffic signals, signage, and street lighting is already installed and began functioning in recent weeks, easing the formerly-confusing passage through the darkened construction site.
The $45 million construction effort has disrupted traffic at the intersection of the two busy highways for almost three years since the first work began on the project. Since that time two large steel-girder, three-lane bridges have replaced the obsolete steel-reinforced two-lane concrete spans constructed in the late 1960's.
The fifteen steel I-beams that now carry SR 60 over US 27 weigh nearly 30 tons each. Beneath that structure, a single traffic light replaces the former semi-cloverleaf interchange with a "single point urban interchange." The light has three phases, allowing for simultaneous left-turn operations on both highways.
The new roadways feature wider bicycle lanes and sidewalks for pedestrians, and a new sound barrier wall at the southeast corner of the intersection. A new frontage road serves businesses on the southwest side of the project.
The new design required the relocation of the overpass more than 150 feet to the north to allow the new bridges to be built before the old ones were removed. The former semi-cloverleaf has been replaced by a single-point urban interchange, an array of traffic signals now control the three primary phases of traffic movement.
Following resurfacing, the new travel lanes will be re-striped, Once the travel lanes are completed drivers can anticipate the eventual removal of barriers and the opening of all lanes.
Remaining work includes grading and sodding of retention areas and installation of landscaping, a process that will carry into the early part of 2025. Motorists should continue to expect detours and the presence of work crews in the area and are urged to use caution.