Overpass Road/I-75 interchange under review

About 100 residents had the chance to see the design for a proposal to widen and extend Overpass Road at a public hearing on Dec. 15, but the project is years away from construction.

The project, estimated at $220 million, calls for widening and extending Overpass Road, aligning it with Fairview Heights and Kossik roads, and building a new Interstate 75 interchange.

The nearly 9-mile project is driven by a rapidly changing landscape that developers are tapping into for homes, employment centers and shops.

The proposed plan was outlined at the public hearing at the First Congregation Church of Zephyrhills.

In addition to a new I-75 interchange, the road would be widened to four lanes, or six lanes in some sections, from Old Pasco Road to U.S. 301 in Zephyrhills. Construction on the interchange – the only partially funded phase of the project – is scheduled in 2020.

Pasco County has about $32 million budgeted for the estimated $64 million interchange. Additional state funds will be sought in 2017.

Pasco, with the Florida Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration, is completing a study of the project before committing to its construction.

A no-build alternative also is an option.

A decision is anticipated by spring 2017.

At the hearing, residents could view maps and ask questions. They also viewed a video explaining the project.

During a public comment period, one property owner raised concern about access to property abutting I-75. Others opted instead for written comments, which were accepted by the state department of transportation through Dec. 27.

Many people at the meeting had questions about construction, increasing traffic and future plans to buy right-of-way.

Lorri and David Blommel, who live off Kossik Road, had mixed views of the project.

Lori Blommel had some questions: “How are we going to get out of our little place across four lanes of highway? How’s that going to work?”

But, an improved roadway, with an Overpass extension, also would provide a quicker, more direct route to Wesley Chapel.

David Blommel said a 30-minute trip could be shortened to 10 minutes.

The entire length of roadway is quickly transforming. Vacant land is becoming home to new subdivisions to join existing ones, such as the Villages at Pasadena Hills.

Metro Development Group recently broke ground on a 7-acre manmade Crystal Lagoon on Epperson Ranch at Overpass and Curley roads. The master-planned community will add thousands of homes, as well as employment opportunities to the area as part of the state-approved Connected City corridor.

The state’s 10-year pilot program focuses on about 7,800 acres to encourage development of new neighborhoods and stimulate job growth with cutting edge technology. Total build out is about 50 years into the future.

Currently, Overpass is an east-west road that runs from Old Pasco Road to just less than a mile east of Boyette Road. The road falls between State Road 52 and County Road 54. It crosses I-75, but it isn’t connected to the interstate.

The project would widen Overpass from two lanes to four lanes, from Old Pasco to I-75. A diverging diamond interchange would be built with a connection to Overpass.

In addition, Blair Drive, which currently links to Overpass near I-75, would be closed. A new, two-lane paved road would be built with a connection to Old Pasco.

When the Overpass extension is complete, the road would intersect with Handcart Road. From there, the road name changes to Fairview Heights Road and later becomes Kossik Road. The project ends where Kossik intersects with U.S. 301 in Zephyrhills.

Plans, long range, are to widen Overpass Road from I-75 to Boyette Road to six lanes, plus two auxiliary lanes. From Boyette Road to U.S. 301, the road also would widen to six lanes.

The project dates to 2003 and the Overpass Road Route Study. Since then, the plan has taken shape from additional studies and public workshops.

Published December 28, 2016

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