FDOT budgeting future land purchases for 54/41 project

A local task force is expected to make recommendations next year on a traffic fix for the intersection of State Road 54 and U.S. 41, but the Florida Department of Transportation already is budgeting about $32 million for land purchases connected to the project.

The funding is slated for fiscal year 2023, as part of the agency’s five-year work plan.

Florida Department of Transportation is budgeting about $32 million for rights of way purchases in fiscal year 2023 for an as-yet-undecided project to improve State Road 54 and U.S. 41 intersection. (File)

The funding for the rights of way for the State Road 54 and U.S. 41 intersection is a conservative amount programmed in advance to give Pasco County time to do outreach, and determine the community’s vision for this project, according to FDOT spokeswoman, Kris Carson, in an email response to The Laker/Lutz News.

“The amount may be reduced or increased or we can shift the funds elsewhere if the no-build is selected,” Carson wrote.

The department also is working on interim improvements for the intersection, she added.

One anticipated project would lengthen some of the turn lanes at the intersection to improve traffic flow.

In October, the 17-member Vision 54/56 Task Force scheduled a workshop to review in more detail traffic projects that are being proposed as solutions.

The group’s options include 11 major highway and transit alternatives, as well as a no-build alternative for the intersection. Some alternatives would be at-grade re-designs with express transit lanes; others would have flyovers, and toll lanes.

The task force is expected to schedule its next public meeting in November or December. Additional public meetings into 2018 also are expected in order to complete the second of three phases of the traffic study.

The entire study includes the State Road 54/56 corridor, from Bruce B. Downs Boulevard on the east to U.S. 19 on the west. However, for the current phase of the study the focus is on two intersections: Little Road and State Road 54 in New Port Richey, and U.S. 41 and State Road 54 in Land O’ Lakes.

The Land O’ Lakes segment is getting intense scrutiny as it is among the busiest intersections, with nearly 100,000 vehicles per day.

Representatives from Pasco County Planning and Development, the county’s Metropolitan Planning Organization, FDOT and consultants are assisting in the study.

The FDOT also is expected to fund a detailed analysis and evaluation of the State Road 54 and U.S. 41 intersection, likely in 2018. MPO officials say it is the only segment included in the study that has funding.

The MPO established the task force in 2015, and started with two separate groups. One studied issues for west Pasco; the other for east Pasco.

In late 2016, a single task force, with some members from the first groups, began studying a list of potential options. They include 11 major highway and transit alternatives, as well as a no-build alternative for the intersection.

The task force initiative got underway after the FDOT proposed a flyover for the intersection, with room for express toll lanes. The project met with opposition from the community, and FDOT officials agreed to back off while a task force tried to reach consensus on what should be done.

The FDOT’s five-year work plan is updated annually.

Some projects to redesign, expand and resurface roadways are slated for 2018/19. They are:

  • Resurfacing U.S. 41 from north of Ehren Cutoff to north of Caliente Boulevard for about $2.3 million
  • Resurfacing U.S. 301 from Pond Avenue to north of Long Avenue/Pioneer Museum for about $2.3 million
  • Realignment, widening and new construction on State Road 52 from Uradco Place to west of Fort King Road for about $83.3 million
  • Widening State Road 52 from two lanes to six lanes, from west of Suncoast Parkway to east of U.S. 41 at cost of about $75 million. This also includes intersection improvements, sidewalks and 12-foot trail.
  • Right of way purchase for U.S. 41 from north of Connerton Boulevard to south of State Road 52 for about $739,000. Construction of that project, in 2020, would cost about $20.3 million.

For more information, visit FDOT.gov.

Published November 15, 2017

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