A constant buzz of conversation filled the room, as people checked out posted maps of proposed improvements along Old Pasco Road, between County Road 54 and State Road 52.
A steady stream of people came and went during the open house-style meeting on July 28, at the Pasco-Hernando State College Instructional Performing Arts Center, 8657 Old Pasco Road in Wesley Chapel.
People posed questions to county staff members, while checking out the displays of two alternatives for the project that are under consideration.
They also jotted comments to share suggestions and concerns.
Panos Kontses, assistant director of engineering services for Pasco County, said 3,500 letters were sent out to let people know about the meeting. The meeting was advertised and information about it was posted on the county’s website, too.
Kontses was pleased that people turned out to share suggestions, which he said will be considered, as planning continues.
During the session, Kontses said most of the people he talked with were residents of the Tampa Bay Golf & Country Club community. However, he noted, staff members were stationed at different spots along the wall displays who also were fielding questions and hearing feedback.
Some Tampa Bay Golf & Country Club residents told Kontses they’d like to see a northbound right-turn lane to be built leading into the community.
“That’s a very good comment, so we will consider it, of course,” Kontses said.
“There was a request to put a signal there. That’s something we will consider during the design,” he added.
Many questions centered on the timing for the project, he added.
A fact sheet provided by the county gives details on the timing, as well as the alternatives under consideration.
Here’s the timeline, laid out in the fact sheet:
- Design phase: Fiscal years 2022-2023 (this is running a little behind schedule)
- Right of way acquisition: Fiscal years 2024-2025
- Construction: 2026-2027
The drawings on display at the meeting depicted two build alternatives. There also was a matrix comparing the alternatives based on their compatibility with the county’s long-range planning efforts, the effect on the safety of traffic operations, environment impacts, and estimated construction and right of way costs.
Alternative one closely matches the alignment shown in the original 2001 and 2003 route studies; and alternative two considers revisions to further minimize impacts from alternative one. There’s also a No Build option.
The fact sheet notes that the proposed alignment follows the previous 2001 and 2003 route study recommendations. That alignment is:
- West-shifted from County Road 54 (Wesley Chapel Boulevard) to south of Country Club Road
- East-shifted from south of Country Club Road to south of Boom Boom Drive
- West-shifted from south of Boom Boom Drive to north of Bonnie Blue Drive
- East-shifted from north of Bonnie Blue Drive to north of Deedra Drive
- Center-realigned to eliminate sharp curves from north of Deedra Drive to north of Sonny Drive
- East-shifted from south of Sonny Drive to 1,600 feet north of Overpass Road
- West-shifted from 1,600 feet north of Overpass Road to State Road 52
Kontses said most of the right of way has been acquired on the northern section of the road, although he noted some additional right of way may be needed for flood plain compensations and ponds.
In recent years, the two-lane Old Pasco Road has experienced increasing traffic, with the opening of a new middle school, new high school and new performing arts center, and additional residential development in the area.
Traffic is expected to increase, as new subdivisions continue springing up and an industrial business park is expected to open on the road.
A new interstate interchange at Overpass Road and Interstate 75, which is under construction, also is expected to bring more traffic into the area.
“I think the people are excited that we’re doing something because this road is needed,” Kontses said.
“There are some safety concerns with some steep curves in the area of the RV park,” he noted.
“There’s congestion. When the school lets out, there’s a lot of traffic.
“They’re excited to see that we are putting in some signals. It’s going to be four lanes, instead of two,” he said.
Those unable to attend the meeting can review the materials on display at bit.ly/3bwVOGr.
The public also is invited to weigh in by completing an online comment form at bit.ly/3OaDPmS.
The deadline is Aug. 11 for submitting comments, which will be included with the Old Pasco Road Route Study and Pond Siting Analysis Report.
Published August 03, 2022