Pasco approves $4.6 million for Ridge Road project

The Ridge Road extension is still on the drawing board, waiting for a permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

But, at their July meeting in Dade City, Pasco County commissioners took a step forward in the nearly 19-year process of qualifying for the coveted permit.

They updated a contract with NV5 Inc., and approved about $4.6 million toward the final design and construction plan of about 8 miles of roadway that will cut through the Serenova Preserve.

If approved, the Ridge Road extension would link west Pasco County at Moon Lake Road with central Pasco at U.S. 41 in Land O’ Lakes. Currently, Ridge Road dead-ends at Moon Lake. (File)

The first phase of the project, if approved, would extend Ridge Road from Moon Lake to the Suncoast Parkway. In a second phase, the road would extend from Suncoast to U.S. 41 across from Connerton Boulevard, in Land O’ Lakes.

Environmentalists oppose the project, which they say will harm wetlands, water quality and wildlife habitats. But, county officials place a high priority on the road extension as an east/west evacuation route during emergencies.

“It’s a long time coming,” said Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano. “I’m glad to see we have some good momentum on building this road.”

County officials estimate that a decision on the federal permit could be known by June 2018. A month earlier, they also believe the Southwest Florida Water Management District could issue its permit.

If permits are approved, construction is scheduled to begin in July 2018.

County officials were encouraged in April, when the Corps selected one of 17 proposed routes as “the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative.”

In recent months, lobbying efforts to win approval of the federal permit have included support from U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Gov. Rick Scott, and the administration of President Donald Trump.

The Suncoast Sierra Club and grassroots activists with the Save the Serenova Preserve from the Road to Nowhere are organizing and gathering petition signatures to oppose the project.

The Corps of Engineers is waiting on additional information on construction and environmental impacts before making a decision.

Published July 19, 2017

Comments

  1. If you would please, it would only be fair to include the citizens and their efforts that are in support of the project. On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CitizensfortheRidgeRoadExtension/ and an online petition at https://www.change.org/p/u-s-army-corps-of-engineers-finish-the-ridge-road-extension-and-save-lives

  2. Angelika Purkis says

    FRAUD. Per Pasco County’s own video there will be 20 lanes of traffic merging into 6 on the Suncoast. 6 lanes that are already stressed with the morning commute. Further, the county’s video states that hurricanes most often come from the South, so we should not be sending ANYONE South in an evacuation. That makes it 20 lanes onto 3. Then, the Northern route with the 3 lanes, puts evacuees back onto Highway 19, closer to the coast! It is a faster route for wealthy people to go to work from Pasco to Tampa because they are too cheap to pay a little more to live closer to work. If you use tax payer money to put an evacuation route in you will be responsible for killing people trapped on a no good route in a bad storm! It is fraudulent use of tax payer money and needs to stop right here. I cannot say anything if you can win this battle by being truthful about its intended uses and you are able to finance it that way. I am not for ruining a park that will be a diamond in the area for future generations. But, you cannot move forward with this under the guises that it is an evacuation route. IT IS NOT.

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