The state had three options for widening Harborview Road and is proposing the one that requires the least “potential residential relocation.”

The public can attend a public information session and hearing on this choice on Thursday starting at 4 p.m. at the county’s East Port Campus, 25550 Harborview Road near the Interstate 75 exit.

The Florida Department of Transportation held a hearing on this topic last year and presented the three options then, called the north, the south and the “optimized alignment” which is a mix of north and south.

At the upcoming hearing, the state will discuss its recommendation, which it is calling the “preferred alternative concept.” The choice lists only three homes as facing “potential residential relocation.” State officials could not be reached for an explanation of relocation, and whether this requires using eminent domain to take land.

A fourth option is always to build nothing, state reports say. But the state has already committed $4 million for the engineering and environmental study in 2020 as well as $2.4 million to acquire property in 2023. No money has been allocated for construction at this point.

Reasons for the project include growth in traffic in the Charlotte Harbor area and in the county. The route is also considered essential for evacuation to the interstate. With plans for Allegiant Travel Company’s Sunseeker Resort to emerge not far off Harborview along Charlotte Harbor, county officials anticipate traffic increases in that area as well.

State officials have told the county they anticipate traffic will triple on this road by 2045.

Harborview passes through relatively older neighborhoods. The western end up to U.S. 41 has already been expanded to five lanes up to just east of Melbourne Street. That leaves 2.3 miles to near the Interstate 75 interchange. That route has only two lanes and has two major curves. A narrow sandy shoulder is usually eroded away so drivers face a sharp drop off the road.

In the rebuild, the state would expand the two lanes to four lanes, add a 30-foot grassy median, bike lanes and sidewalks in both directions. That widens the whole project to 114 feet. Two roundabouts are included — one just west of the interstate and one just east of Melbourne Street.

Homes already hug the road. A historical study evaluated homes more than 50 years old along the route.

Of those homes, the study stated: “None of the previously recorded or newly identified resources is a distinctive embodiment of a type, period, or method or construction. In addition, background research did not reveal any historic associations with significant persons and/or events. Therefore, none of the 12 previously recorded or six newly identified historic resources within the APE is considered potentially eligible for the National Registry of Historic Places.”

The study also identifies homes that will be affected by noise.

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Route comparison for widening Harborview Road

Comparison Northern Route Southern Route Optimal Route
# of homes relocated 14 10 3
ROW acres 10.3 10.1 10.4
ROW stormwater 8.6 8.6 8.6
Cost $47.5 million $48.5 million $45.6 million
wetland acres 3 3.5 3.5
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