NEW PORT RICHEY — The full interchange at the Ridge Road Extension and Suncoast Parkway is open for business, Pasco County announced Thursday, at least during daylight hours.
County officials had been urging the Florida Turnpike Enterprise to open the two ramps not yet in use even though supply chain issues had delayed delivery of the equipment needed to collect tolls. Pasco offered to pay the lost revenue, up to $55,000, so that the state would be made whole in the interim.
Last week county commissioners fussed about the delays saying that weeks had passed without reaching an agreement even though the actual construction on the ramps was finished and only minor work was needed to make it safe for motorists to use them.
“Let the people start traveling it. It’s the people’s money that built it,” Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano said.
For now, the ramps are open for daytime use, but drivers should anticipate nighttime closures as some aspects of the construction continue.
The ramp from eastbound Ridge Road to the northbound Suncoast Parkway and the ramp from the southbound Suncoast Parkway to westbound Ridge Road opened Thursday. However, these two ramps will be closed Monday to Thursday nights — from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. — for several weeks as tolling equipment is installed.
Once it is operational, drivers will be responsible for all tolls.
The ramp from eastbound Ridge Road to southbound Suncoast Parkway and the ramp from northbound Suncoast Parkway to westbound Ridge Road have been open since December 2021. Pasco County opened the first two lanes of the long-awaited Ridge Road Extension at that point.
Two additional lanes of Ridge Road, between the Suncoast Parkway and Town Center Road, as well as a paved pedestrian trail, are set to open in the fall.