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County will review intersection projects

(ran PC edition)

One would overhaul the snarl at State Road 52 and I-75 and another at Daughtery and Fort King roads.

Pasco County commissioners are expected to review a pair of proposed east Pasco road improvements Wednesday, including one that affects thousands of motorists every day.

The biggest request is from the Florida Department of Transportation, asking the county to contribute $500,000 to a $1.6-million overhaul of the snarled intersection at State Road 52 and Interstate 75.

The DOT has already committed the $1.6-million to widen SR 52 and the interstate exit and entrance ramps. But the county road construction chief, Bipin Parikh, told commissioners in a memo that the state wants the county to add $500,000 in case of "unexpected overruns."

If the project comes in on budget, the county would get back the money _ plus interest, the memo states. "With variations in bid construction costs, the $1.6-million may or may not be sufficient funds for the project," Parikh reported.

If the costs go higher, the extra would come from the county's contribution.

The $500,000 is already included in the county's annual budget, with the money coming from a pool of transportation impact fees, Parikh said.

According to DOT figures, up to 11,900 motorists use SR 52 in that area on an average day, and that doesn't include the on-and-off interstate traffic from drivers who exit to buy fuel and get back on the road.

The intersection was already congested when the state installed traffic lights at the end of last year. When the lights went up, the situation became worse, with long traffic jams snaking back from the intersection on SR 52.

Several attempts to adjust the timing of the lights early this year did help, but traffic still backs up onto the interstate during peak hours as commuters compete with the 18-wheelers trying to get to area truck stops.

Parikh also notified commissioners that his office is considering improvements at the intersection of Daughtery and Fort King roads. The three-way intersection is served by a pair of stop signs.

Parikh told commissioners in his memo that a public hearing is set for Jan. 17, from 5 to 7 p.m., in the City Commission chambers at the Zephyrhills City Hall.

The county is considering changes to the intersection to make the area safer, Parikh said. Any improvements will likely require the county to buy more land to expand the roads, he said.

Wednesday's County Commission meeting is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. in the board room at the West Pasco Government Center in New Port Richey.

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