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New turns studied for old New Port Richey road

The plans to extend Osteen Road have hit another pothole.

Engineers are going back to the drawing board _ literally _ to draft a slightly different route connecting the two legs of Osteen Road north of Massachusetts Avenue.

But officials admit that the northernmost stretch of the project remains so unpopular with the Magnolia Valley residents it might never get built.

"The impact looks so intense on the folks in Maggie Valley, I wasn't quite sure of the direct benefit," County Commissioner Steve Simon told the Pasco Times on Wednesday. That leg of the project, he added, "was really repugnant to me."

A county-hired consultant, Coastal Design Consultants, is studying possible routes for extending Osteen Road from Plathe Road to Orchid Lake Road. The County Commission agreed Tuesday to spend $3,700 to wrap up the study.

The controversial segment north of Massachusetts Avenue would not displace any homes, county engineer Jim Widman said. But it would clip a few back yards, and neighbors fear it would bring more traffic through their community.

The proposal to extend Osteen Road south of Massachusetts, to Plathe Road, has not faced opposition, he said.

"It's possible part of the sections might be recommended (for construction) and perhaps other sections might have to have a no-build recommendation," Widman said.

Officials originally hoped the project would relieve congestion on Little and Rowan roads and provide an alternate route to schools along Orchid Lake Road.

The county plans to hold a public workshop in late February on the latest alignment north of Massachusetts Avenue, Widman said. Ultimately, the County Commission will decide whether to build all, part or none of the project.

In other news, commissioners agreed Tuesday to hire a consultant, M.T. Causely Inc., to help the county issue building permits and provide new home inspections sooner.

The Homestead consultant, which also has a Tampa office, will review building plans and perform inspections for construction projects in part of central Pasco. It will keep 75 percent of the county's permitting fees from those projects.