After being removed from the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) during the economic downturn in 2008, the widening of Old Pasco Rd. will be getting a fresh look.
The county’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) voted unanimously last month to put the idea of widening the two-lane road back on Pasco’s LRTP.
While still a long way from any concrete design and plans, transportation projects can only be funded if they are on the LRTP, so it’s a start.
“Now, we can figure out how to get it funded, what it might cost and look at a newer study of the road,” said Pasco Commissioner Mike Moore, who represents District 2, which includes most of Wesley Chapel.
Moore says he has been pushing for an examination of Old Pasco Rd. for the past two years.
Old Pasco Rd. is no longer simply a minor roadway that winds through a sleepy part of Wesley Chapel from S.R. 54, past Overpass Rd., into San Antonio, and all the way to S.R. 52. Instead, it is evolving into is a main arterial roadway that goes by the new Cypress Creek High Middle/High School and future performing arts center, new housing developments and a soon-to-be-built business park.
“I personally feel it’s a priority to get it done,” Moore says. “It’s a pretty skinny road the way it is, and with a new school and additional homes, I have concerns about the traffic and the safety of those who live and drive in that area.”
It was during the summer of 2018 that Moore and District 1 Commissioner Ron Oakley ignited the debate, following the re-zoning request that cleared the way for 2,250,000 sq. ft. of office and light industrial entitlements to be built on roughly 91 acres of land on the east side of Old Pasco Rd., just south of Overpass Rd., near Cypress Creek Middle/High.
With plans already underway to widen Overpass Rd. and the addition of a new intersection with I-75, more traffic on Old Pasco Rd. — including big trucks coming to and from the Overpass Business Park, as it will be called — is a certainty.
Coming Soon: More Traffic
While portions of Old Pasco Rd. will be widened during the construction of the soon-to-be-built Overpass Rd./I-75 intersection, Moore would like to see a plan to widen Old Pasco Rd. all the way from S.R. 52 to S.R. 54.
He says he knows it will be expensive, but adds that the area is quickly growing. In addition to the school, there are 400 new homes approved for construction in Quail Hollow, and a 264-unit Arbours at Saddle Oaks residential development at the intersection of Old Pasco Rd. and Country Club Rd.
Commissioner Moore says he has met with local residents on a number of occasions over the past two years, and says a large majority of the people he’s spoken with want to see the road widened. But they want it done right — with a median and sidewalks and bike paths, all things that make it safer for pedestrians and vehicles.
“They want it done right,” Moore says, “and I agree.”
HDR Engineering, Inc., is currently conducting a road safety audit (RSA) and study for Old Pasco Rd., to determine if there is a need for the widening. That study is looking at the Old Pasco Rd. intersections with S.R. 54, Post Oak Blvd., Foamflower Blvd., Dayflower Blvd., Country Club Rd., Bonnie Blue Dr., Deedra Dr., Sonny Dr., Lindenhurst Dr., and Overpass Rd.
It will be years before the project comes to fruition, and the amount of right-of-way land that would need to be purchased will make it an expensive endeavor.
“It won’t be easy,” Moore admits, “but I really think it needs to get done.”