Public meeting set on roadway connection study

The city of Tampa, Hillsborough County and Pasco County remain at odds over whether Kinnan Street in New Tampa should connect to Mansfield Boulevard in Wesley Chapel.

A 450-page draft report, known as the Wesley Chapel Roadway Connection Study, looks at that road project, as well as two other potential intra-county road connections in the Wesley Chapel and State Road 56 area.

The study says that Pasco County will face substantial costs to address traffic increases — with or without potential roadway connections.

Estimates for intersection improvements in the area, with no road connections, would be about $13.8 million. With road connections, the cost would be about $15.4 million.

A public meeting to discuss the study, and get public input, will be held on May 29 at the Pasco-Hernando State College’s Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch, at 2727 Mansfield Blvd.

This is part of a multiphase process taking place over several months.

The focus of the meeting is to get comments on the study, not to get a consensus on what should or shouldn’t be connected, said Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore.

“We want to hear from people if something is missing and should be added,” Moore said, noting the study is quite detailed.

A power-point presentation will be made at the meeting. Afterward, people will be able to look at maps, and ask questions one-on-one with consultants and county staff members.

Residents can go online now to peruse all 450 pages, and make comments through June 15. An online survey will be posted in the future to get a consensus on which road projects residents want to see completed.

No decision on recommendations is anticipated from the Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization until September. A final decision would be left to Pasco County commissioners, who also will need to identify funding sources for future projects.

The issue of establishing a connection between Kinnan and Mansfield resurfaced recently when developers of K-Bar ranch filed an application with Tampa to build more than 700 new homes, south of Mansfield.

The Tampa City Council postponed a vote on the project until June in hopes that an agreement could be reached regarding connecting Kinnan and Mansfield.

Hillsborough and Pasco have been at odds over the connection for more than a decade.

In 2017, the Hillsborough County Commission approved $250,000 to pay for the project.

The study presents four alternatives, including a no-build choice.

Potential road projects include linking Kinnan Street and Mansfield Boulevard, and building extensions of Meadow Pointe and Wyndfields boulevards from Pasco County into Hillsborough County.

If Pasco and Hillsborough elected officials are divided on where to link up their roads, so are area residents.

Nearly 140 people attended a public meeting in April 2017 to discuss opening roadways that divide the counties.

Oral and written comments gathered through the meeting showed Pasco residents split on joining Kinnan and Mansfield, with 36 people against it, and 37 in favor.

However, Hillsborough residents overwhelmingly supported the connection by a count of 63 for and two against.

Pasco looked with more favor on extending Meadow Pointe by a count of 40 to 6, and Wyndfields by 28 to 4. Hillsborough residents favored Meadow Pointe by 67 to 8, and Wyndfields by 50 to 18.

The study also took note of an agreement between the K-Bar ranch developers and the city of Tampa that says Wyndfields can’t be extended until Pasco allows Kinnan and Mansfield to be linked.

For information, and to view the study, visit PascoMPO.net.

What: Meeting to discuss the Wesley Chapel Roadway Connection Study
When: May 29, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Pasco-Hernando State College’s Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch, 2727 Mansfield Blvd., in Wesley Chapel
Cost: Free
Info: Visit PascoMPO.net.

Published May 23, 2018

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