PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — One big reason it took so long to get the Ridge Road extension done was the many environmental concerns.
The new roadway cuts through the Serenova Nature Preserve, part of the Starkey Nature Preserve.
“We did walk through Fish and Wildlife staff when we were in the design phase of the job and made sure we were sizing the crossings and locating them appropriately,” said Pasco County project manager Sam Beneck.
That’s why there are bridges over wetlands big enough for deer and other wildlife to get through. And there are smaller tunnels for smaller creatures.
Those environmental issues and the political red tape kept this project from getting done until now.
But any day now the first phase will open for drivers.
“We understand the value of this project to the citizens. We know everybody’s been waiting a long time for this. And the team has really worked hard to deliver it as quickly and safely as possible,” said Beneck.
Phase 1 of the Ridge Road extension will have two of the four lanes open to start connecting Moon Lake Road in New Port Richey to the Suncoast Parkway.
Next year it will be extended to Sunlake Boulevard. And eventually, it will go all the way to US 41 in Land O’ Lakes.
“This will immediately improve the traffic on 52 and 54 because now instead of people having to go up down and over around the county from both ends can now go across,” said Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano.
The new route is expected to help businesses in a county that continues to grow. Including the new Moffitt Cancer Center that will open near the Suncoast.
“With Moffitt coming into Pasco County, all the jobs that they are going to have, the access to getting to live and work in Pasco County has just grown tremendously,” said Mariano.
Officials say the new roadway also provides another much-needed evacuation route if a big storm ever comes our way.
An exact opening date isn’t set yet. But we will let you know as soon as it is.
For more information go to: https://pascocountyfl.net/3302/Ridge-Road-Extension