New connection being eyed between Mansfield and Kinnan

Pasco County officials aren’t taking a position as yet on tearing away barricades, and connecting Kinnan Street and Mansfield Boulevard.

Hillsborough County officials, however, are budgeting $250,000 to get the job done.

Some residents worry about safety issues for schools if Kinnan Street, in Hillsborough County, and Mansfield Boulevard, in Pasco County, are linked. (File)

Hillsborough’s budget decision won’t influence Pasco’s decision, according to Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore.

Pasco wants to know the results of a study that it funded to evaluate the pros and cons of three road projects to extend or open roadways that dead-end at the border between the two counties.

The results of that study, known as the Wesley Chapel Roadway Connection Study, are expected in January.

“We’re evaluating to make sure we look at these very, very carefully,” Moore said. “What are the benefits for Pasco County residents?”

Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, who asked for the funds to be included in Hillsborough’s budget, couldn’t be reached for comment.

One project under review would link Kinnan Street, in Hillsborough County, with Mansfield Boulevard, in Pasco County.

Other choices would be extensions to Wyndfields and Meadow Pointe boulevards that would link with existing and future roads in the K-Bar ranch development in Hillsborough County.

Barricades are placed at the dead-end where Kinnan Street and Mansfield Boulevard meet. A study could determine whether the roads are removed and the roads linked.

The matter of Kinnan and Mansfield has long divided the two counties, and the city of Tampa. The roads are divided by about 60 feet of vacant land, that frequently attract illegal dumping.

A forum in April drew about 100 people to discuss ways to improve traffic flow north and south across the borders.

There appears to be a general consensus that more connections are needed. But, there are differing views over where to build those connections. The potential Kinnan-Mansfield connection is especially contentious.

Mansfield is located off State Road 56 in Wesley Chapel, just beyond The Shops at Wiregrass.

Many residents in the Meadow Pointe community object to the extension, contending that Kinnan’s two-lane design isn’t compatible with Mansfield’s four lanes.

Widening Kinnan also is problematic because there in no available land, they say.

Residents also cite safety concerns due to the location of three public schools, and Pasco-Hernando State College, along the route.

Moore said the safety issue is being examined.

The road connection study, which had been due in November, was pushed to January to include traffic data from a full school semester.

Hillsborough residents, primarily New Tampa, are pushing for more north-south connections.

Driving in the area now can mean navigating a circuitous route along County Line Road, Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, Cross Creek Boulevard and Morris Bridge Road.

The lack of connections means it can take twice as long to make trips to shopping centers, restaurants and other Wesley Chapel destinations, those favoring more connections say.

The lack of connections also has negative impacts on Hillsborough businesses, they add.

Published December 6, 2017

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