Road Rants: Construction begins on Ridge Road Extension

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PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Ridge Road Extension in western and central Pasco County has been talked about for more than three decades and awaiting approval for 20 years.

The largest point of contention is that the extension, which would extend Ridge Road to the Suncoast Parkway and then to US-41, cuts through the center of the Serenova Wetlands Preserve.

However, in late December 2019, the Army Corps of Engineers approved construction for the first phase of the project, the portion of the road which will connect Moon Lake Road in New Port Richey to the Suncoast Parkway.

A contractor has been hired, and Pasco County isn’t wasting any time on construction. Protected species are being identified and relocated away from the construction zone, and by the end of January, it’s expected that clearing will get underway at the dead-end portion of Ridge Road at Moon Lake Road.

Crews will first extend Ridge Road to Town Center Road, optimistically opening the extension in time for the 2020-2021 school year in an effort to provide relief to traffic congestion near River Ridge High School and River Ridge Middle School.

Once complete, construction will get underway between Town Center Road and the Suncoast Parkway. The project timeline indicates two lanes should open in the summer of 2021, and two more in the summer of 2022.

Phase II of the Ridge Road Extension, between the Suncoast Parkway and US-41, has not been approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, however, funding for the project is included in Pasco County’s 2022-2023 fiscal year budget.

The Pasco County Government has more information on the project, including renderings and documents related to the various points of contention between the county, environmentalists, and the Army Corps of Engineers, at this link. However, the information provided on the website hasn’t been updated to reflect the recent approval for Phase I.

If you have a road construction question or a gripe about traffic, send me your Road Rants through email at mcensullo@wfla.com or on Facebook at WFLAMeredyth.

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