Published: Jan 15, 2014 5:32 PM EST
Updated: Jan 15, 2014 5:51 PM EST

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. - A massive roadway project is underway in Englewood. 

For the next year, drivers will need to take detours while crews extend Winchester Boulevard south from McCall Road to Placida Road.

Bulldozers are moving and the signs are up alerting drivers of a major road project in their back yards.

"There's just not enough roads anywhere in Englewood, Charlotte County, or the state.  More roads the better," says homewoner, Dale Pankow.

"We're basically completing the Winchester extension," says Project Manager, John Elias.

Crews are building a new 4-lane divided highway from State Road 776, South McCall road to Placida Road.  It will eventually connect to River Road and Interstate 75.  Project Manager John Elias says they're building sidewalks, installing traffic lights and redoing utilities.  In the end, a 17 million dollar job.

"We're about 51 days into a 420 day project... they also have to get this land cleared before scrub jay nesting season so there's a lot of little timelines that go on," he adds.

But in addition to alleviatiating traffic congestion, the new road will also be used as an evacuation route in the event of an emergency like a major storm.  Homeowner Dale Pankow is more than happy to see equipment moving.

"An additional road especially for emergency evacuation, it's needed," he says.

The Project Manager says the sales tax, gas tax and FDOT funding is paying for the project.

Below is more information on the project from the Charlotte county website:

Construction is underway on the Winchester Boulevard South roadway extension. This project provides for a new three-mile-long, four-lane divided roadway, from S.R. 776 south to C.R. 775 (Placida Road). Construction includes roadway lighting, sidewalks, drainage improvements and utility work to be completed in conjunction with Charlotte County Utilities and Englewood Water District. Major components of the project include signalization of both the S.R. 776 and Placida Road intersections. When completed, this project will result in a four-lane connector from Placida Road to the Charlotte/Sarasota County line, with a direct connection to I-75 via River Road within Sarasota County.

To carry out construction activities, the following roads will be closed on Jan. 10, 2014: Aloha Avenue at Winchester Boulevard, Apple Valley Avenue at Winchester Boulevard, Brookhaven Terrace at Winchester Boulevard, Worth Avenue at Winchester Boulevard, Sunset Road North at Sunset Circle, Rifle Road at Indian Creek Drive, Cougar Way at Indian Creek Drive, Opal Drive at Telman Drive, Sunset Road at Telman Drive, Cypress Road at Short Street, West Drive at Sunset Road, West Drive at Flower Drive and Glades Drive at West Drive. More information about this project, including a map depicting road closures, is available at www.CharlotteCountyFL.gov – click Project Status Updates in the Popular Links list on the left.