Frontage roads in Pasco?

A citizen’s task force looking for traffic remedies for congested intersections of State Road 54 and State Road 56 has put together a mix of options, including a bypass consisting of parallel frontage roads.

The recommendations are focused primarily on two intersections on State Road 54 at Little Road, and at U.S. 41.

A bypass with a network of parallel frontage roads is one option selected by a task force to improve traffic flow at State Road 54 and U.S. 41. (File)

However, the 17-member volunteer task force also looked more broadly at major intersections along the entire corridor from U.S. 19 on the west to Bruce B. Downs Boulevard on the east.

The parallel frontage roads are part of a proposal put forth by Jacksonville engineer Greg Parsons. It was a privately presented option at a task force meeting, and not part of the task force’s initial list of 11 highway and transit alternatives and a no-build option.

Task force members whittled down the list at a meeting on Nov. 30 in Land O’ Lakes. During the year, the task force had three public meetings, and a workshop.

The Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization will meet Jan. 11 to consider the recommendations.

“The MPO will have to look at these and give the final say,” said Ali Atefi, transportation engineer with the MPO.

Once the MPO’s board determines a course of action, additional study on a road design will move forward in 2018. The focus will be only on the U.S. 41 and State Road 54 intersection.

The Florida Department of Transportation has money for additional study on that intersection, but no funding is available for the Little Road intersection, Atefi said.

Other task force recommendations included:

  • Elevated express lanes at major intersections, with express lanes at-grade elsewhere, and bus service in the express lanes.
  • No-build

At the U.S. 41 intersection, the task force also recommended an elevated lane combined with dedicated lanes for bus or rail and a continuous flow intersection.

The continuous flow intersection relies on turn lanes to keep traffic flowing.

Also, for major intersections along the entire corridor, the task force recommended elevated express lanes, with at-grade express lanes elsewhere, as well as dedicated bus or rail lanes and continuous flow.

These recommendations are intended to provide a permanent fix for traffic jams. But, in the interim, the state transportation department is preparing a temporary fix for U.S. 41 and State Road 54.

The intersection is one of the busiest in Pasco County, with about 100,000 vehicles passing through daily.

More than $752,000 is budgeted in 2018 for design work on a project to lengthen some turn lanes at the intersection for a better traffic flow. Construction is expected in 2019.

The state transportation department also has budgeted about $32 million to purchase right-of-way for whichever alternative project is selected for the major re-do of the intersection.

The task force could be asked to meet again in 2018 for additional discussions.

Published December 27, 2017

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