Three alternatives are being considered to improve traffic flow through one of Pasco County’s busiest intersections.
A community workshop was held last week for the public to weigh in on three proposed alternatives, as well as a no-build option, at U.S. 41 and State Road 54, in Land O’ Lakes.
The intersection carried about 124,000 vehicles per day in 2019 and is projected to carry 176,000 vehicles per day in 2045, according to the Florida Department of Transportation’s District Seven presentation materials.
State Road 54 runs east-west through Pasco County, providing connections to several regional north-south routes, including U.S. 19, the Suncoast Parkway, U.S. 41, Interstate 75, U.S. 301 and U.S. 98.
Meanwhile, U.S. 41 is a north-south road that traverses the entire length of Pasco County.
The roads are part of the regional transportation network, are used as hurricane evacuation routes, and are designated as regional freight mobility corridors.
They also play a role in the daily lives of commuters.
Motorists use U.S. 41 to travel from Hernando County through Pasco County to Hillsborough County.
When the traffic stacks up at the intersection of U.S. 41 and State Road 54, traffic is impeded on both major arterial roads.
The situation has been a source of frustration for motorists, who have complained for years about being stuck in traffic through repeated light cycles, and there’s been considerable talk, too, about the need to fix the problem.
Besides being inconvenient, the crash rate at the intersection is higher than the state average, according to FDOT materials.
The options being considered are:
- Alternative 1: A single-point urban intersection (SPUI), providing an interchange with State Road 54 elevated over U.S. 41.
This alternative would affect 62 parcels and would require 28 business relocations.
The anticipated need for right of way is 55.3 acres. The estimated present cost for this alternative is $222 million.
- Alternative 2: A parallel flow intersection (PFI), providing displaced left-turns, in all four approaches, at grade.
This alternative would affect 30 parcels and would require 17 business relocations. The anticipated need for right of way is 22.2 acres. The estimated present total cost for this alternative is $108.9 million.
- Alternative 3: A continuous flow intersection (CFI), with elevated lanes of State Road 54 over U.S. 41, providing displaced left turns in all four approaches.
This alternative would affect 65 parcels and would require 34 business relocations.
The anticipated need for right of way is 54.5 acres. The estimated present day total cost is $246.3 million.
All three of the options would involve three residential relocations and would impact eight contaminated sites. None of them would have an impact on archaeological or historical sites.
There also is a no-build alternative, which will be dropped if and when an alternative is selected.
The workshop drew 94 people, with 49 coming to the workshop at Keystone Community Church, off State Road 54, in Lutz, and 45 taking part virtually, according to figures provided by Kris Carson, spokeswoman for the District 7 office.
The session included a video, that ran continuously, explaining the alternatives.
Those attending could check out displays and learn details about options being considered.
Representatives of the DOT were there, too, providing information and fielding questions.
Besides having the chance to become more informed, the workshop offered the opportunity for the public to fill out comment cards offering their views on the various alternatives and to address such issues as traffic patterns, project design, and the social, economic, and environmental effects of the proposed improvements.
The need for this project has been established based on future traffic demands, future population and employment growth in the area, according to FDOT background materials.
In evaluating alternatives, the state looks at the improvements based on such issues as traffic operations, safety, right of way needs and environmental impacts, among others.
Based on additional analysis and consideration of public comment, the project team will select a preferred alternative and complete the feasibility study.
The next phase is resuming the Project Design & Environmental (PD&E) Study phase, which will be done in 2021 and 2022; then the design phase, 2023 and 2024.
Right of way acquisition is expected to take place from 2022 to 2026.
This project is not yet funded for construction.
Published September 22, 2021