Pasco County’s 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan is on its way to both federal and state authorities, highlighting the county’s plan for roads, transit and sidewalks over the next 25 years. And one transportation feature that made the cut? Elevation roads along the State Road 54/56 corridor.
A group of residents successfully fought a proposed private elevated toll road that would’ve stretched from Zephyrhills to New Port Richey earlier this year, but once they stopped that project, they vowed to remove any mention of elevated roads from the transportation plan. Yet, among the more than 30 changes made to the plan after two months of public hearings, none of them included deleting references to an elevated road.
In fact, it remains an option for the county between 2020 and 2040 along the State Road 54/56 corridor as an “alternative improvement.” That could include “premium transit improvements” like toll lanes, overpasses like those used on U.S. 19 in Pinellas County, and elevated lanes, like was proposed by International Infrastructure Partners LLC in 2013 that could’ve cost upward of $2.2 billion or more.
Pasco’s Metropolitan Planning Organization conducted a 30-day comment period through Nov. 23, as well as public workshops throughout November. It concluded with a public hearing on Dec. 11 where the new transportation plan was adopted unanimously.
Many of the changes to the plan were minor, like name changes of some roads at Bexley Ranch near the Suncoast Parkway, and Mitchell Boulevard near the Little Road area. But there also were some larger changes as well, including:
• Moving up the six-lane expansion of State Road 52 from Interstate 75 to Pasco Road from 2040 to 2019.
• Keeping the State Road 56 expansion from Meadow Pointe to U.S. 301 two lanes instead of four by 2019, but possibly expanding it to four lanes by 2030. Zephyrhills city officials are working with state lawmakers to get that timetable moved up.
• Delaying another 10 years to 2040 projects like Livingston Avenue from State Road 54 to Collier Parkway, Eiland Boulevard from Handcart to Dean Dairy roads; Curley Road from Wells Road to Clinton Avenue, and Lake Patience Road from Sunlake Boulevard to U.S. 41.
The MPO also made a number of changes to Tower Road, which runs primarily east to west in Pasco County just north of State Road 54. They include developer-funded improvements like a two-lane stretch from Bexley Ranch to Ballantrae Boulevard, and an expansion to a two-lane road from U.S. 41 to Ehren Cutoff by 2040, paid for by the county.
The Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration and the Florida Department of Transportation will now review the plan, and work with the county to help implement it.
To read the complete plan, visit Mobility2040Pasco.com.