A new Harley Davidson dealership will be one of the new business highlights of the growth along the soon-to-be-widened road.
(Photos by Charmaine George)

Pasco County finally has the land it needs to widen Wesley Chapel Blvd. from a two-lane to a six-lane road. Now all the county needs is a final plan.

The county completed the needed right-of-way acquisition for the long-planned project in January, and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is working on the final reviews of the design plans, according to county spokeswoman Tambrey Laine.

“As soon as those reviews are complete (likely by the end of March), we’ll be able to move forward with the bidding process,” Laine told the Neighborhood News.

Construction could begin as soon as this fall, and will take approximately three years to complete.

When the widening project has been completed, Wesley Chapel Blvd. (also known as C.R. 54) will be a six-lane roadway from north of S.R. 56 (near the Cypress Creek Town Center) to I-75, near The Grove.

The widening of Wesley Chapel Blvd. (the roadway portion in red, north of S.R. 56) should begin soon. Many of the major projects along the roadway  are either under construction or already open. Please note that the locations of these projects are approximate & not to scale

Of course, the name Wesley Chapel Blvd. — which has been known as much more of a country road connecting Land O’Lakes to the fledgling Wesley Chapel and ultimately, to Zephyrhills prior to the opening of S.R. 56 — is something of a misnomer, as most of the developments on both sides of the road that actually travels north and south, even though it is labeled as an east-west road, are actually located within either Lutz or Land O’Lakes zip codes.

Also located off of Wesley Chapel Blvd. is the North Tampa Aero Park, the small (one-runway) private airport that used to host a popular annual air show. The more popular the air show became, the worse the traffic snarled throughout the Lutz/Wesley Chapel area. The last year the air show was held, people were stranded on Wesley Chapel Blvd. for several hours. 

At a Pasco County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting on May 23, 2017, meeting, the commissioners approved a County Incentive Grant Program Agreement with FDOT for the right-of-way acquisition for the project. The estimated right of way costs were $11,718,400, with FDOT contributing half, or $5,859,200.

The construction phase of the Wesley Chapel Blvd. project is estimated to cost $36,392,250, with FDOT agreeing to fund $5,733,308 of that. Including the design costs and right-of-way acquisitions, the total estimated cost of the project is $50.8 million.

The widening will include a six-lane “urban typical section,” with a sidewalk, bicycle lanes, a multi-use path, lighting, and new signals at the intersections at Stagecoach Village Blvd. (the entrance to the Stagecoach Village subdivision, which become an active traffic signal a few months ago), at Compark Dr. and Grand Oaks Blvd. (the latter of which has been in existence for several years). 

The project will be constructed in two parts. One part will widen Wesley Chapel Blvd. from north of S.R. 56 to Magnolia Blvd., which is just south of Amici’s Pizza (see map above).

The second phase will widen from just north of Magnolia Blvd. to north of Old Pasco Rd. That portion will include the addition of two new lanes in a 48” median to tie into the existing six lanes to the east and proposed six lanes to the south. 

A Look Back…

The idea of widening Wesley Chapel Blvd. was considered as far back as 2003, when there was an initial study to widen it to four lanes. But, later studies showed that would not be enough to accommodate the growth in the area on both side of the road.

There are three major multi-family projects already under construction on WC Blvd., including the Maeva apartments, located just north of PopStroke.

Business on both ends of Wesley Chapel Blvd. has exploded in recent years, with the development of the Cypress Creek Town Center to the south and The Grove to the north. But, in between, new businesses and apartment and townhome communities continue to sprout.

There continues to be additional expansion at the Cypress Creek Town Center development north of S.R. 56. PopStroke opened last month, Academy Sports + Outdoors is being built next to PopStroke and a 260-unit luxury apartment complex, Maeva, is under construction just north of those two large businesses, as well as Total Wine & More. Maeva is expected to open around September.

On the west side of Wesley Chapel Blvd. north of S.R. 56, a 42,000-sq.-ft. Harley-Davidson dealership is nearing completion,and there also are plans for a 5,000-sq.-ft. restaurant on the same site.  

North of Harley-Davidson, the Cypress Bend Professional Park also is under construction. While none of the tenants have been named, the complex is being built on nine acres and will include 23 buildings ranging in size from 2,612 sq. ft. to 5,868 sq. ft. The entire Cypress Bend Prof. Park project will be 74,172 sq. ft.

Other projects — including a storage unit, Valvoline oil change facility, small businesses in the plazas that dot the boulevard on the drive from I-75 to S.R. 56 – continue to pop up.

And, if Wesley Chapel has proven anything over the last few years, development along Wesley Chapel Blvd. isn’t likely to slow down.

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