Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) officials have given contractor Middlesex-Herzog II of Littleton, Mass., the go-ahead to begin construction of the second phase of the SunRail commuter rail line.
"Construction can start April 1,'' said SunRail spokeswoman Jessica Ottaviano. The notice to proceed was issued March 2. Ottaviano said plans for an official groundbreaking in Kissimmee sometime in late April are still being finalized.
The SunRail station in Poinciana will be a short distance from the intersection of U.S. 17-92 and Poinciana Boulevard. Tentative plans for the Poinciana station indicate it will have a parking lot for cars and an area to accommodate passengers arriving and departing by buses. The first passengers will be able to board in February 2018, said Ottaviano.
The 32-mile first phase of SunRail, which runs from DeBary in Volusia County to the Sand Lake Road area in southern Orange County, began operations in May 2014. The second phase will extend the rail service south to Poinciana.
Polk transportation officials have discussed ultimately seeking to extend the commuter line into Polk County through Haines City and potentially to Auburndale. That project would depend on whether FDOT would be willing to fund the project.