Traffic project moved up to help East Pasco drivers

Construction to start in 2018
Posted at 6:32 PM, Dec 08, 2016

As Wesley Chapel grows, so does the traffic Stacey Handman deals with.

“It’s gotten worse and at certain times of the day it’s very very congested,” she said. “You sit there, you just can’t go anywhere.

The worst of it is usually in the afternoon as drivers getting off north-bound I-75 try exit at State Road 56.

It’s rush hour combined with shoppers headed to the Tampa Premium Outlets.

“When that outlet mall opened it just exasperated problems that are already in place,” said Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization director James Edwards.

The county’s been working with the state on a fix.

And they think they’ve found it.

It’s called a Diverging Diamond Exchange, similar to a design used in Sarasota.

“If you look at the concept it doesn’t seem to make sense because you are actually reversing lanes. At the end of the day it makes efficiency because it eliminates these left turn phases,” said Edwards.

This $18.5 million project wasn’t supposed to start until 2024.

But because the need is so great, officials got moved up to 2018.

“A few months ago we were up in North Carolina and we got off of one and I was like this is what they are going to put onto 56, this is going to be fantastic,” said Handman.

There will be some construction headaches once the work starts.

It’s slated to take two years.

It’s one of several projects planned to keep up with all the growth in East Pasco.

Here’s a video from the Florida Department of Transportation showing the design: