When it comes to construction activity on Pasco County roads, State Road 52 is a hotspot.
At least that was the message that David Gwynn, secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation’s District Seven, delivered during the North Tampa Bay Chamber’s breakfast meeting.
Gwynn briefed the audience on the state transportation department’s current and upcoming projects in Pasco, during the June 4 session at Pasco-Hernando State College’s Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch.
“We’re trying to address some of our major issues we have in the transportation system in the region,” the transportation secretary told the crowd. “The State Road 52 Corridor is one that we’ve really put a lot of money into in the last few years, and we’re going to continue to do that in the near future.”
Among the projects, the state DOT is widening State Road 52, from the Suncoast Parkway to the east of U.S. 41.
That stretch will be expanded to six divided lanes.
It is currently under design, with construction expected to begin later this year, Gwynn said.
Heading from east of U.S. 41 to west of County Road 581 (Bellamy Brothers Boulevard), State Road 52 will be expanded to four divided lanes.
State Road 52 also will be expanded to four divided lanes from County Road 581 to Old Pasco Road, with that project expected to be completed this year.
In 2020, the state DOT expects to widen U.S. 41 to a four-lane road, from just south of State Road 52 to Connerton Boulevard.
The biggest project, Gwynn said, will introduce a new State Road 52 route to U.S. 301.
That project involves widening the road to four lanes, beginning at the intersection of State Road 52 and Uradco Place, extending to the Bayou Branch Canal.
East of the canal, a brand new four-lane State Road 52 will branch off (south of existing State Road 52) and eventually will merge with Clinton Avenue.
This new alignment, expected to begin this fall, will provide an additional route from Interstate 75 to U.S. 301.
When that project is completed, the existing State Road 52 will be turned over to Pasco County to become County Road 52.
U.S. 301 is scheduled for several improvements, too.
There are plans to repave U.S. 301 from Pond Avenue to the north of Long Avenue. And, another project will widen the stretch from County Road 54 (Eiland Boulevard) to north of Kossik Road into six lanes.
Another project would expand U.S. 301 to four lanes south of State Road 56 to south of State Road 39. That two-mile project is expected to include a median, as well as a bike lane, sidewalk and a shared-use path.
Another two-fold project is under evaluation on U.S. 301, Gwynn said.
That project would expand the stretch from State Road 39 to Corey Street in Downtown Zephyrhills. Then, branching out from the Corey Street intersection would be two newly built one-way roads.
Each road would hold three lanes, run parallel to U.S. 301 and end just south of County Road 54.
Gwynn also mentioned the plans to add another entrance in Wesley Chapel from Interstate 75.
The new diamond interchange would connect Overpass Road to the interstate by way of a flyover ramp.
Overpass Road would be accommodated with two additional lanes from its intersection with Old Pasco Road to the exit ramp getting off the interstate.
From the ramp, to the intersection with Boyette Road, Overpass Road would be widened to six lanes. No start date has been determined yet, Gwynn said.
The director also revealed that Wesley Chapel is one of five areas being studied as a possible public transportation hub for traveling cross-county.
It would afford commuters traveling out of Pasco County to neighboring Hillsborough County an alternative from personal transportation.
And, Gwynn informed attendees of the new Florida legislation to build three multi-use corridors, adding new toll roads as well.
“The main purpose of them is to revitalize some of the rural communities that may have been left behind as Florida has prospered – to encourage job creation in these areas,” the director said.
One local corridor will be the Northern Turnpike Connector, which will bridge the Florida Turnpike northwest to the Suncoast Parkway.
Construction on the corridors is set for late 2022.
Gwynn also mentioned that the construction of the long-awaited diverging diamond in Wesley Chapel is still progressing.
The project, which is reconfiguring the State Road 56 bridge overpassing Interstate 75, will crisscross eastbound and westbound lanes upon reaching the bridge.
Four through lanes and two left-turn lanes will make up the westbound road on the south end of the bridge, to better accommodate heavier traffic flow. The eastbound road will hold only three lanes on the north end.
The project is still set to be completed in late 2021, Gwynn said.
Published June 12, 2019