Pasco task force presents ideas to fix SR 54

Posted at 5:26 PM, Mar 28, 2016

Pasco County officials are working to combat traffic jams along State Road 54, talking about potentially double-decking the road. 


Over the next 20 years, the population in the county is expected to boom, making that traffic even worse. 


Some small business owners along State Road 54 said adding an elevated highway will send potential customers on their way without stopping, but the county said traffic is so bad in some spots that something has to be done now. 


“It’s backed up, I mean all you see is lights in the morning,” Debbie Revels said. 


It’s a morning routine Revels is used to but wouldn’t mind trading. 


“It’s frustrating. It makes you want to try to find a different route, but there is none right now,” she said. 


Pasco County officials said they’re trying to figure out how to fix the congestion on SR 54, in major intersections from U.S. 19 to Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.


“I have seen the queues…backups…it’s long…I don’t want to be in that queue to be honest with you.” transportation engineer Ali Atefi said. 


Task forces for the east and west corridors are presenting ideas to help. One of those ideas is for an elevated highway. 


“You can add two more lanes or four more lanes at whatever level you want, but you keep the existing lanes in tact,” Atefi said.


Marsha Jones, who owns a music shop on SR 54, said the change would hurt her business.


“People don’t want to have to drive a couple miles, do a u-turn, come back. It’s bad enough they have to wait five minutes to get across the road, but you’re not going to stop people,” she said. 


The task forces will need to narrow down the ideas to a maximum of six. The meeting Monday night for the west corridor will be at Rasmussen College at 5:30 pm. The meeting for the east corridor is Thursday night at the same time.