From the moment Sarasota County broke through Pinebrook Road at Laurel Road as part of the Sarasota-to-Venice linking road project known as the Honore Extension, I’ve been dogging its progress. I've got a teen driver and the thought of him traveling on I-75 this time of the year to get to Sarasota makes me a nervous wreck. And Tamiami Trail is often a parking lot, so that's not much of an option.
Construction of the last leg of the eight-plus mile Honore Extension began two years ago. The darkened stoplight at Pinebrook and Laurel Road has been up for months now and it’s looking like a nearly finished road.
But we still have two months until it opens to motorists, according to a county spokesman. Construction crews are working on the Fox Creek Bridge and they still have to install handrails, guardrails, signs and stripe the final mile of road between 681 and Pinebrook.
We full timers love to complain about the traffic but this year is about as bad as any I remember. It’s taking an hour or longer to drive from Venice to Sarasota – a byproduct of a record tourist season, lots of residential development under construction and not a lot of new roads to go along with the growth.
But now I’ll let you in on a little driving secret—if you’re in Sarasota heading South to Venice, the most glorious section of road in the county is southbound Honore between Clark Road and 681. There are so few cars on the road, which runs through Palmer Ranch, that I figure most people must not know about it. It’s a few miles of perfectly paved hardly traveled road with single-lane roundabouts and vast open land. Motorcycle drivers figured this out awhile back and you’ll see more of them than cars. You now have to turn right from Honore onto Southbound State Road 681, which then dead ends into Tamiami Trail on the border between Nokomis and Osprey. Final improvements include a stoplight at Honore and 681 that will allow you to go north and merge onto I-75 north.
Honore begins at University in Manatee County, but the most northern sections are as packed as any Sarasota roads this time of year.
Enjoy that Clark-to-681 section of Honore while you can. Once the last leg of Honore is finished at Pinebrook Road, I predict it will no longer be the road less traveled.