State Road 54 widening job bid awarded
A long-awaited project to expand a section of State Road 54 to six lanes should get started next month after the Pasco County Commission awarded a $28 million construction bid to Pepper Contracting Services this week. All eight bids came in well under the county's estimated $39 million price tag. But count the $70 million Pasco spent buying 116 properties for the expansion, and the road project is the most expensive in county history. "This is monumental," County Administrator John Gallagher told commissioners. The section of road that will be widened is between Interstate 75 and Curley Road. The money for the project comes from the county's share of gas tax revenue and local transportation impact fees. The state Department of Transportation is also kicking in $13 million. Construction is expected to last 21 months. County officials are planning a series of meetings with nearby residents.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Standoff forces school bus delays
Three schools were on lockdown Wednesday as authorities surrounded a fugitive hiding in a house. Pasco deputies went to 6017 Arthur Ave. at 10:48 a.m. on a tip that Stephan D. Fullman, 22, was at the home. Fullman was wanted on a warrant for charges of selling and possessing cocaine and failing to appear in court. "Everyone in the house refused to come out," said Capt. Jeff Harrington, spokesman for the New Port Richey Police Department. After getting a search warrant, the New Port Richey SWAT team broke down the door just before 3 p.m. and arrested Fullman without incident. He was taken to the Pasco County jail. Students at Gulf High, Gulf Middle and Schwettman Education Center were held after school until the situation ended. The late dismissal at those schools caused school bus delays in parts of west Pasco.