It’s a tentative list — but if it gains approval and subsequently secures funding, numerous transportation improvements affecting local motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists could occur faster than previously proposed.
The new work program presented during the Pasco Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) meeting “represents an over $40 million increase from what we are currently enjoying,” Carl Mikyska, executive director, told members of the MPO board during its Oct. 14 meeting.
Public comment will be accepted online regarding the tentative work plan, from Oct. 25 through Oct. 29, and at a public open house will be conducted by the District Seven office of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) on Oct. 28.
All public comment, regardless of how it is provided, must be submitted by Nov. 12. (For more details, visit FDOT.gov/wpph/district7.)
Jensen Hackett, of the FDOT’s District Seven office outlined some of the proposed changes to the tentative work program, in an update to the MPO board. The board is made up of the Pasco County Commission and elected officials from the county’s largest municipalities.
One project, now included for construction in fiscal year 2027, is the widening of State Road 52, from Ehren Cutoff to Bellamy Brothers Boulevard, Hackett said.
“This is the final project as part of the (State Road) 52 widening, across the northern part of Pasco County,” he said, noting the project had been identified as the Pasco MPO’s No. 1 priority.
Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey reacted: “Thank you. I’m happy to see the rest of (State Road) 52 in the work plan.”
Another proposed change involves an effort to improve traffic flow heading south at Interstate 75/Interstate 275, in an area between State Road 56 and County Line Road.
It would be similar to the collector/distributor system that already exists for northbound motorists on I-75 and I-275 that get off the long exit ramp at State Road 56, Hackett said.
“This will be almost identical in the southern direction, to guide you from State Road 56 to southbound 75 or southbound 275 — taking away a lot of those weaving conflicts that occur, heading in that southbound direction.
“This construction is being added to fiscal year ’27,” Hackett said.
Other projects that have been added, or moved up on the proposed work program, include:
Bike and pedestrian improvements
- Overpass project for the Suncoast Trail, at State Road 54 and the Suncoast Parkway. This pedestrian overpass project has been added to the construction list for fiscal year 2023. It is being paid for through an agreement with Pasco County.
- Overpass project for the Suncoast Trail, at State Road 52 and the Suncoast Trail. This pedestrian overpass has been added to the construction list for fiscal year 2023. It, too, is being paid for through an agreement with Pasco County.
Safe route to school improvements
- Ballantrae Boulevard, from north of Straton Place to Tower Road. This is a sidewalk project near Bexley Elementary School. Construction of this project has been added to the list for fiscal year 2026.
- Fort King Road, from Hester Road to north of Coleman Avenue. This is a sidewalk project near Pasco Elementary School. Its construction has been added to the list for fiscal year 2026.
- Leonard Road, from U.S 41 (State Road 45/Land O’ Lakes Boulevard) to Henley Road. Design has been added to fiscal year 2025; construction, to fiscal year 2027.
- State Road 39, from north of Central Avenue to U.S. 301 (Gall Boulevard). Design has been added to fiscal year 2023; construction added to fiscal year 2025.
- State Road 54, from west of Ray Drive to U.S. 301 (Gall Boulevard). Design added to fiscal year 2023; construction added to fiscal year 2025.
- State Road 54, from Gunn Highway to east of Crossing Boulevard. Design has been added to fiscal year 2023; construction to fiscal year 2025.
- State Road 54, from Marathon Road to Gunn Highway. Design has been added to fiscal year 2023; construction to fiscal year 2025.
- State Road 581 (Bruce B. Downs Boulevard), from State Road 56 to State Road 54. Design has been added for fiscal year 2024; construction, to fiscal year 2026.
- State Road 54, from Bruce B. Downs Boulevard to Curley Road. Design has been added in fiscal year 2024; construction to fiscal year 2026.
A number of improvements at Zephyrhills Municipal Airport also have been added or moved up on the list. They are:
- Zephyrhills Municipal Airport Master Plan Update, added to fiscal year 2024, includes partial local funding
- Design and construct box hangars, added to fiscal year 2024, includes partial local funding
- Sixth Avenue realignment around the airport grounds, added to fiscal year 2026; includes partial local funding
- Rehab Runway 1/19, design added to fiscal year 2023, includes partial local funding
- Rehab Runway 1/19, construction added to fiscal year 2024, includes partial local funding
The proposed changes — and many other projects that have been previously included in the plan — still must gain funding through the Florida Legislature and secure the governor’s signature before they become operational.
The current work program ends on June 30 each year, with the new work program beginning on the first year of the five-year program, on July 1. New projects are then added into a new fifth year, based on transportation goals.
Want to weigh in?
The Florida Department of Transportation’s District Seven office is accepting public comment on its tentative work program for the upcoming five fiscal years, 2022-2023 through 2026-2027.
The public can participate online, from Oct. 25 through Oct. 29. To do so, go to FDOT.gov/wpph/district7.
The public open house will be on Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the District Seven office, 11201 N. McKinley Drive, in Tampa.
All public comments, regardless how they are submitted, are due by Nov. 12.
Published October 20, 2021