Environmental group still fighting Ridge Road extension project in Pasco County

County leaders say it's needed as evacuation route
Posted at 5:01 PM, Feb 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 17:01:40-05

Dan Callaghan and his group say they thought they stopped the River Ridge extension project back in 1998.

“Now we call it the zombie road to nowhere because it’s been resurrected. It’s alive again, chiefly through the help of developers, Congressman Bilirakis, the county commissioners and President Trump,” he said.

But Pasco County leaders say the eight mile, $102 million project is necessary and on its way to finally happening.

First off, they say it will provide a much needed hurricane evacuation route from west to east. 

Proponents say it will also boost development and relieve traffic to help businesses grow across Pasco County.

Then there is the environmental argument that’s held this project back many times before.

The county says they’ve worked to reduce effects to wetlands in the Serenova Preserve.

And the total permanent impact is just 2.3 acres.

“It’s going to destroy some wetlands. And the irony is these wetlands were set aside in perpetuity when they built the Suncoast Highway, which destroyed wetlands. So I guess perpetuity in Pasco County is 3-5 years,” said Callaghan.

Plans call for some of the roadway to be elevated to limit effect on the the area.

County leaders are still waiting for final permitting from the Army Corp of Engineers. 

Then they hope to see construction begin this summer.

But the Save Our Serenova Coalition continues to fight. They are holding a rally at Ridge Road and Moon Lake Saturday at 10 a.m.