Pasco County’s proposed Ridge Road Extension has been considered a source of controversy, since the late 1980s.
The 8.7-mile long east-west corridor would connect Ridge Road, near Moon Lake Road in New Port Richey, to the Suncoast Parkway, and from there to US-41 in Land O’ Lakes.
The county says the Ridge Road Extension would improve east-west roadway capacity and enhance overall mobility within the area bounded by SR-52 to the north, SR-54 to the south, US-41 to the east and Moon Lake Road, DeCubellis Road, and Starkey Boulevard to the west.
Additionally, the county says, the additional roadway capacity would provide improved routing away from coastal hazard areas and an additional hurricane evacuation route.
The project has gone back and forth between Pasco County, environmentalists, and the Army Corps of Engineers since the early 1990s. There are concerns that the Ridge Road Extension would destroy, or impact, acres of wetlands.
The most recent project design includes elevated portions over wetlands, as well as shared-use pedestrian and bicycle paths.
Earlier this year, 8 On Your Side’s Mark Douglas discovered tens of millions of dollars have been spent on design plans and consultants. At the time, county officials expected permitting to be approved by the Corps of Engineers by the end of 2018.
But this week, the county told News Channel 8 the new, optimistic timeline for permitting is spring or summer of 2019.
Also, the county says there are only design plans for the stretch of roadway between Ridge Road and the Suncoast Parkway. It’s possible the second stretch of roadway will not be built.
Pasco County has created a website with design plans, alternative plans, and spending to date. You can find it at this link.
Send your road construction questions to Meredyth at firstname.lastname@example.org or on her Facebook page.