NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County is set to launch $2.2 million in safety improvements next week on Moon Lake Road, the site of a deadly crash that claimed two teens last summer.
The work includes repaving 3.5 miles of the highway from north of Ridge Road to Nassau Drive and adding a foot of paved shoulder on each side. Also, crews will add solar-powered flashers and vibration devices in the center lane and on the shoulders. The project will run from Feb. 27 to June 30. Most of the work will happen at night.
Courtney Little and Kimberlee Markou would have been in the midst of their senior year at River Ridge High School if not for last July's deadly crash.
The teens' parents said poor road conditions contributed to the accident, including the slick road surface and a 6-inch drop-off at the edge of the pavement. It's believed the teens' car fell off the pavement then over-corrected, veering toward oncoming traffic near Bethwood Avenue.
County commissioners approved the work in November after hearing from the teens' parents and others at meetings. A state Department of Transportation study showed 155 crashes on Moon Lake Road, including two fatalities, from 2010 to 2012. Of that total, 37 percent involved vehicles going off the road.
Commissioners decided to tackle the safety improvements now rather than wait until the road is widened. Long-range plans call for expanding the highway to four lanes at a cost of $30 million, but that project isn't set to happen until 2026.