Pasco County and the Florida Department of Transportation are working together on projects aimed at providing bicyclists and pedestrians overpasses on State Road 54 and State Road 52, to gain access to the Suncoast Trail, on the Suncoast Parkway.
The estimated costs for the overpass at State Road 52 is slightly under $10.1 million, according to materials in the Pasco County Commission’s Jan. 25 agenda packet.
The project is funded through the Transportation Capital Improvements Program, with funding from Penny for Pasco, the documents say.
Since the overpass will span a State Road, county staff has been in discussions with FDOT staff about having FDOT manage the project for design and construction, according to the backup.
It notes that “FDOT has the expertise with bridge design projects and resources available to execute the project.”
The state transportation agency has agreed to include the overpass project as part of its work program, as long as the county provides the funding.
Under the agreement, FDOT will be responsible for the design plans, advertising, and letting the construction contract, to include utility coordination, permitting and the construction engineering inspection for the project.
The county will be responsible for all project costs, securing an agreement with the Florida Turnpike Enterprise for the use of the Turnpike property for the project, and completion of all required survey, geotechnical exploration, and subsurface utility engineering, the agenda document says.
“If there are any additional costs required for the project, provided they are necessary and compensable, the county will pay those additional costs,” the document adds.
Upon completion of the project’s construction, the county will assume the maintenance of the
bridge and its components.
Discussions also have been underway with the Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department regarding the maintenance responsibility for the bridge, since it is part of the Suncoast Trail (which they currently maintain).
The total estimated project cost is $10,089,528. The county will transfer $9,779,528 to FDOT for the design and construction cost of the project.
The remaining funds ($310,000) will be retained by the county to complete the survey, geotechnical exploration, and subsurface utility engineering for the project.
The agenda background also notes: “With the completion of the design plans, the project could be positioned as a shovel-ready project and potential candidate for grant funding from the “Build Back Better Reconciliation Plan,” and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, in which new investments will be made for safety, walking and biking opportunities.”
The county board approved staff’s recommendation to amend the budget to add nearly $8.6 million to the project because less than $1.5 million had been included in the current budget for the project.
In another action, the county board also approved an agreement with FDOT relating to the design and construction of a bicycle/pedestrian overpass for the Suncoast Trail at State Road 54.
In that agreement, the board approved a budget amendment of more than $9.6 million, since the current budget includes only slightly more than $1 million.
Just like the overpass project at State Road 52, the agenda packet for this item notes that“with the completion of the design plans, the project could be positioned as a shovel-ready project and potential candidate for grant funding from the “Build Back Better Reconciliation Plan,” and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, in which new investments will be made for safety, walking and biking opportunities.
In addressing her colleagues during the Jan. 25 board meeting, Pasco County Commission Chairwoman Kathryn Starkey talked about recent discussions she had with state lawmakers, to discuss Pasco’s funding requests.
“I feel confident that we’re going to be successful this year,” Starkey said.
She specifically mentioned a conversation she had with Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, who is a Republican from Trilby.
She said she talked to him about finding a funding source to help with the costs of the planned overpasses at the Suncoast Parkway.
Starkey said she has been told that when the Suncoast Parkway was designed, “they didn’t have the trail in mind.
“And so, they didn’t anticipate that, so it wasn’t built in and planned in our area.”
As a result, Starkey said, “the citizens of Pasco County are ending up right now funding our pedestrian overpasses on (State Road) 54 and (State Road) 52.”
But Hernando County has an overpass funded by the Turnpike Authority, and so does Citrus County, she said.
Starkey said Simpson said he will help with the issue.
“We have a plan that we’re going to push forward this year, to hopefully alleviate that cost to our citizens and be able to move that money to other projects, so I’m real excited about that,” Starkey said.
Published February 02, 2022