Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore said there’s no specific solution in sight yet for congestion motorists face daily at U.S. 41 and State Road 54. But, the commissioner outlined a number of other projects underway that should improve mobility on the county’s roads.
Moore’s comments came during a sold-out luncheon meeting of The Greater Pasco Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 13, at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Tampa North, in Land O’ Lakes.
There are plans for a temporary fix at U.S. 41 and State Road 54, Moore said, noting some turn lanes are being extended — which should improve traffic flow.
But, the final plan to address that intersection is not yet known, Moore said.
“We know something needs to be done, but,” he added, “funding obviously always is an issue.”
Plus, there’s not a consensus on the best approach.
“Do you use eminent domain and take out businesses? Do you do a flyover? We have a community that is split,” Moore said. “Our county staff is going to continue to work very closely with FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) to come up with a viable solution.”
Addressing the issue is important, he added, because the entire stretch of State Road 54 is going to get busier as the area continues to grow.
“Do you look at Bus Rapid Transit? I’m kind of a fan of Bus Rapid Transit,” he said, but added he would like to see how Bus Rapid Transit has worked elsewhere.
While there’s no definite solution for the U.S. 41 and State Road 54 intersection, the county is making progress in other areas, Moore told chamber members.
The county is awaiting a federal permit to proceed with a project to extend Ridge Road, and Moore said he thinks the county is closing in on securing that.
He also talked about other road projects that are underway or planned.
For instance, plans call for widening U.S. 41 from Connerton Boulevard, north to State Road 52. Improvements also continue to widen State Road 52.
Moore also noted that construction is underway on the Diverging Diamond, a project that is expected to ease congestion at the Interstate 75/State Road 56 interchange.
State lawmakers helped get that project built much faster than originally planned, Moore said.
The commissioner also talked about a planned interchange at Overpass Road and I-75.
“State legislators helped us get $15 million toward that. It’s about a $70 million project. We’re allowing FDOT to control that project because they’re the professionals, and they know what they’re doing when it comes to design-builds.
“That is moving forward now,” Moore said.
He also noted that State Road 56 has been extended from Meadow Pointe Boulevard in Wesley Chapel over to U.S. 301 in Zephyrhills.
“That is an amazing extension.
“Now, we’re even looking at punching it (State Road 56) through, so it goes to (U.S.) 98, too,” he said, but that plan remains under discussion.
Moore also touched on the positive impact that tourism has had in the county.
“Tourism is booming right now,” Moore said.
It generated an overall economic impact of $615 million in 2018, he said, noting the county had 965,000 visitors that year. There were 7,480 tourism-supported jobs, and tourism generated $156 million in wages.
Published August 28, 2019