Straighter roads and easier intersections
By Kyle LoJacono
Those who drive Boyette Road regularly know how dangerous the thin and curved street is, but Pasco County is working to make this and other roads easier and safer for the public.
It is part of a plan by the county commissioners to make such winding roads straight, according to Pasco chief engineer James Widman.
“The commission wants to make the roads safer by straightening roads and intersections like Boyette,” Widman said. “Our engineering study of the area from (2004) showed the S-curve in Boyette to be dangerous and the project is working to create a straighter road for most of the traffic.”
The project will create a new southern starting point for Boyette about 1/4 mile east of the current connection with SR 54. The new road will be called New Boyette Road while the existing street will be Old Boyette Road, according to project manager Andy Alipour.
Boyette will be closed to through traffic until Aug. 15 with drivers being diverted to Wells and Curley roads. Widman said New Boyette will be about 0.3-miles long and will open in September.
“We have to do the project very carefully because there is an isolated wetland area there,” Alipour said. “We had to get approval from (Southwest Florida Water Management District) before we could start the project. It’s being done so water can flow under the road to keep the wetlands intact. The frogs and other animals will be able to cross.”
It was the wetlands that forced the county to build the road with the curve originally.
A stop sign will be placed at the connection of Old and New Boyette roads. Parts of existing Boyette will also have several feet added to its width.
Another change is the stoplight at the current intersection of Boyette and SR 54 will be removed and a new one will be placed where New Boyette connects with the highway once the project is finished.
“The S-curve will still be there, but most of the traffic will use New Boyette,” Widman said. “Most of the people still using Old Boyette will be those living on the road.”
The few businesses on the southern end of Boyette will remain open and accessible during the entirety of the project. One of those is the Wesley Chapel Post Office, which is a contracted unit owned by Kelly Rossi.
“Well I’m not happy about not having a traffic light, but the road will be safer,” Rossi said. “Business was very slow when word started to get out about the project because people thought we were closing, but those phone calls have gone away. Our customers are returning and I want to thank all those people for supporting us.”
Rossi has owned the post office since 1997 when it was located further west on SR 54. It moved to its present location eight years ago.
Rossi herself had taken Boyette south to get to work each day before the project started July 19. She lives in Quail Hollow and the curved road is the fastest way to get to the post office, but she also knows how dangerous Boyette can be.
“There have been a lot of accidents on Boyette,” Rossi said. “My son got into an accident during a rainstorm when he was in a new Mustang. The police and the other driver said he wasn’t speeding, but because of the curves he still hydroplaned into the other car.”
Rossi said her son was not charged with a crime in the accident.
“Things will be safer when the new road is built,” Rossi continued. “Especially when school starts back up because a lot of the kids drive fast through the area. I’m glad the county is working to making road safer.”
School begins Aug. 16 and the road will open so buses can pick up students, according to Alipour. By then much of the work on the curve will be finished and the construction company, Pepper Contracting Services, can focus on building the new road.
Pepper is also doing the project to widen SR 54 and the work on Boyette was part of the $28 million contract from the county.
Just east of Boyette is another intersection that needed improvements — Curley Road and SR 54. That corner is not at a 90-degree angle, but a proposed road would straighten that.
“It will be called South Curley and it will line up with Meadow Pointe Boulevard at a 90 degree angle,” Widman said. “That project will be done by a private developer so no county money will be needed, but the project is not finalized yet.
“When the new road is built, Curley will remain where it is without a stoplight and the new intersection with South Curley will use the light at Meadow Pointe now,” Widman continued. “Curley won’t connect with Wells Road directly anymore because it wouldn’t work with the engineering, but a small road will connect it with the new road for those who still want to drive on Curley.”
The distance from the existing Curley and Meadow Pointe is more than a mile drive on SR 54. Widman said there is no timeline for the South Curley project.