Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Pasco

Pasco says there will be traffic on Ridge Road extension in 9 months

At a ground-breaking ceremony, officials laud a road more than 30 years in the making.
Ridge Road in Pasco County currently ends at Moon Lake Road. [Tampa Bay Times]
Ridge Road in Pasco County currently ends at Moon Lake Road. [Tampa Bay Times]
Published Jan. 13

The first ribbon of asphalt will be less than a half-mile, 2,300 feet to be exact, but the journey to get there began three decades ago.

"My dad was a county commissioner when this thing started,'' said Pasco Commissioner Mike Wells Jr., whose father served on the board for eight years ending in 1992.

"This thing'' is the extension of Ridge Road that will connect west Pasco to the Suncoast Parkway and on to U.S. 41 in Land O’ Lakes. On Monday morning, approximately 100 people gathered at a dead-end street in the River Ridge neighborhood to share congratulations and watch the shovels of dirt go flying in a ground-breaking ceremony.

Related: Pasco on verge of building Ridge Road Extension

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blessed the project’s route in a permit issued in late December. That is more than two decades after the county first applied for the federal permit and more than 30 years after planners conceived of the route while drafting the county’s first state-mandated land plan in the late 1980s.

Not everyone is happy, though. The 70-member Save Our Serenova Coalition and other environmental advocates have objected because of the highway’s route through the Serenova Preserve. Tim Martin of the Suncoast Sierra Club recently said the club’s legal counsel is working to decide its next course of action.

At Monday’s ceremony, the track hoeand pay loader in the background acted as props. But crews from contractor Cone & Gram already are working on the road’s first leg from the dead-end at Tower Center Road to the current terminus of Ridge Road at Moon Lake Road, just less than a half mile away. That two-lane road is expected to open by September and provide much-needed relief to the heavy traffic traveling to and from the River Ridge Middle and High School complex.

"Finally,'' said Pasco County School Board member Alison Crumbley. "This will help parents, too.''

The building schedule calls for two lanes of the Ridge Road extension to reach the parkway by July 20, 2021, with the remaining two lanes open a year later. The four-lane extension from the parkway to the planned extension of Sunlake Boulevard within Lennar’s Angeline development is expected by be completed by September 2022. The final four-lane leg to U.S. 41 could be done by September 2025.

The route has been pitched as necessary for emergency evacuations, but there is no denying the road is a boon to economic development. Already, the planned road will serve as an east-west route through the giant Angeline development and its 800-acre commerce park that recruited an expanded H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Center has its lead entity.

"Guess what? They need that road to come here,'' Commissioner Jack Mariano said of Moffitt.

Mike Wells Sr. wasn’t the only former commissioner mentioned Monday. Former Commissioners Mike Cox and Ted Schrader and retired County Administrator Michele Baker attended the ceremony, along with a bevy of dignitaries, including U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, Pasco County commissioners, school board members, school superintendent Kurt Browning, constitutional officers, business leaders and current and retired government administrators.

"A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this,'' Baker said beforehand.

Bilirakis and others acknowledged Baker during their remarks.

"You knew it was going to happen, eventually,'' said Bilirakis. "You got it done.''

The 4.2-mile leg from from Moon Lake Road to the parkway will be limited access and elevated through the preserve via 18 bridges. Projected construction costs are listed at just less than $68 million. The county says it already has spent more than $16 million on permitting, right of way, lobbyists, wetland mitigation and other expenses that will push the total price to just less than $90 million.

The second portion, 3.4 miles from the parkway east to U.S. 41 would be built at-grade, with developers picking up the cost. The Florida Turnpike Authority is responsible for the $15 million interchange with the parkway.

.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. A for sale sign is seen in front of a home in the Westchase area of Tampa. CHRIS URSO  |  Times (2013)
    And a spike in cash sales suggests investors were active in the market.
  2. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    The driver lost control of his SUV while negotiating a curve, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
  3. A look at the construction on the Tierra Verde bridge project which is the bridge between Isla Del Sol and Tierra Verde islands on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 in St. Petersburg. The project began in December 2018 and is scheduled to be completed in summer of 2021. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Dr. Delay takes a deep dive into the construction process for the $56.3 million State Road 679 and Bayway Bridge project .
  4. A proposed bill in the Legislature would set a statewide referendum on whether to amend Florida's constitution to add a year to the period when home buyers can transfer their accumulated benefits under the Save Our Homes cap on property assessments to a new home. Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty says going from two years to three would reduce the possibility that construction delays in a booming real estate market would prevent some buyers from meeting the deadline, costing them potentially thousands 
 of dollars in property tax savings. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times (2019)]
    The bill, the idea of Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty, would give buyers another year to transfer their tax savings under Florida’s Save Our Homes assessment cap to a home they’ve...
  5. Child and family advocate Jack Levine. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
    The founder of 4Generations Institute discusses his commitment to children and families.
  6. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    Five girls and one boy will face charges after lunchtime fights disrupted the Pasco County campus, according to the school district.
  7. Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans will become the headquarters for Medicare and pharmacy operations now that it has been acquired in a $17 billion cash and stock deal by Centene Corp., base in St. Louis. (Times files)
    New owner Centene said it “expects to maintain strong operations in Tampa,” which is anticipated to be the headquarters for its Medicare and pharmacy operations.
  8. Kurt Browning, left, is seeking a third term as superintendent of Pasco County schools. Addison Davis, right, is negotiating a contract to become Hillsborough County's next superintendent. [Tampa Bay Times (2016, 2020)]
    A Hillsborough search and Pasco election offer insights into the job and its importance.
  9. More than 44 percent of people who searched on ApartmentList.com for the Tampa Bay area from June to December were outside the region, according to a report from Apartment List. Percentages in the “Top Three Sources” box represent the share of searches coming from outside the metro area. (Apartment List map) [Apartment List]
    The region trails only Denver, Baltimore and San Diego for the percentage of people from outside the area searching for apartments on Apartment List.
  10. The New Port Richey Community Redevelopment Agency agreed to a deal that will bring a Keiser University campus to the city's gateway. [New Port Richey]
    The city agreed to buy properties at U.S. 19 and Main Street. A developer will build a new Keiser University campus and possibly a hotel.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement