A construction time frame has been set for Pasco County’s plans to widen Wesley Chapel Boulevard to six lanes.
The expansion of the road — also known as County Road 54 – will be broken into two projects.
The first project begins just north of the road’s intersection with State Road 56 and extends to the north of its intersection with Magnolia Boulevard.
The second project extends from the intersection at Progress Parkway to the intersection of Oakley Boulevard.
An initial 2003 study prompted the idea of expanding Wesley Chapel Boulevard to four lanes. However, later studies predicting an increase in density resulted in a call for more widening.
“Projections we did, before 2008, show that future growth is going to bring the volumes up to a point that we’ll need to have six lanes there,” said Panos Kontses, a Pasco County engineering manager.
The widening comes at a time when State Road 54 and State Road 56 are adding new commercial and residential buildings, in response to the area’s growing demands.
County engineers are finalizing the blueprints for the project.
“Right now, we are trying to finish the design plans,” Kontses said. “We are about 90 percent finished.”
Letters offering to purchase right of way have been sent to landowners along the route of the first project.
Most of this stretch is two lanes, without a median to divide opposing traffic.
The new construction adds a median, which will have openings so motorists can make turns.
Future plans for commercial growth and road widening on Old Pasco Road was considered in this project, the engineering manager said.
Kontses said the expansion of Old Pasco Road, which intersects with Wesley Chapel Boulevard, is expected to increase traffic.
The county’s plan to create a new interchange at Interstate 75 and Overpass Road — which feeds into Old Pasco Road — also will increase activity in the area, Kontses added.
Motorists heading northbound on Wesley Chapel Boulevard, have to make a slight right curve when going past the intersection of Old Pasco Road.
Eastbound traffic already has three lanes from Old Pasco Road to Oakley Boulevard, but westbound traffic has just two lanes for a portion of that stretch.
To accommodate an expansion of a six-lane road, the existing median will be narrowed.
This median runs north of Magnolia Boulevard to Oakley Boulevard.
The projects’ additional amenities will include an 8-foot multi-use trail to the east side of Wesley Chapel Boulevard and 5-foot to 6-foot sidewalk on the west side. These will be installed in the area between State Road 56 to Magnolia Boulevard.
Also, traffic lights will be added at Wesley Chapel Boulevard’s intersections with Stagecoach Village Boulevard and Compark Drive.
A signal already has been installed at Grand Oaks Boulevard, but will undergo an upgrade during construction.
While it’s too early to tell what delays or closures may come, Kontses assured that contractors will use night construction in order to minimize disruption.
Both projects will be treated as one development during the construction phase. The project cost is estimated at $53 million.
“We assume construction should start sometime between the end of 2021 and [the] beginning of 2022,” Kontses stated.
Construction is expected to be completed by the summer of 2024.
Published May 08, 2019