The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is requesting a new interchange on I-75 at S.R. 54 (new) to serve north Tampa. For purposes of this document, S.R. 54 (new) refers to the proposed road while S.R. 54 (old) refers to the existing facility. Also, note that prior to July 1, 1988, S.R. 54 (old) was previously designated as Pasco County Route 54. Greiner, Inc. has been requested by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to perform professional services related to the justification of the new interchange.
The proposed interchange is part of the new realignment of S.R. 54 (new). This alignment extends from the Zephyrhills East Bypass Westward to U.S. 19, and provides a connection between I-75 and Zephyrhills and between I-75 and the urban areas of New Port Richey in South Pasco County.
The proposed interchange of S.R. 54 and I-75 is also a integral link in the Tampa Interstate Study (TIS). The TIS is a study that recommends the preferred type and location of multi-lane improvements, potential high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV), transit facilities, traffic management techniques, and traffic surveillance and control systems. The TIS sutdy limits are:
- I-275 from the Howard Frankland Bridge, eastward and northward to south of S.R. 54 (old) in Pasco County;
- Memorial Highway from I-275 to Cypress Street; and
- I-4 from its junction with I-275 at the Tampa Central Business District eastward to I-75.
The proposed interchange provides improved regional accessibility and an alternative connection for traffic traveling along I-75 south destined for the downtown Tampa, Westshore and St. Petersburg business districts. This traffic can exit I-75 at S.R. 54 (new), travel west along S.R. 54 (new) to the improved Dale Mabry Highway and connect to the Northwest Expressway. This alternative route is a key element in the TIS maintenance of traffic plans for the reconstruction of the I-4 and 1-275 junction, and I-275 north of the junction which lies south of the I-75 and S.R. 54 (new) interchange.
Study Purpose and Need
Pasco County has experienced a 155 percent population increase from 1970 to 1985 (from 76,000 to 194,000 respectively). The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (TBRPC) has projected growth in Pasco County to increase by 25 percent between 1985 and 1990, and an additional 33 percent between 1995 and 2010. In addition to the increase in population, Pasco County has also experienced tremendous economic growth along the northwestern portion of the project. This economic growth is evidenced by the recent surge in real estate and retail trade activity.
The amount of population and economic development projected for Pasco County will increase the travel demand on the area’s roadway system. Network traffic forecasts for the year 2010 indicate that several roadway improvements are needed to meet this travel demand. One of these improvements includes the future upgrading of the existing 1-75/S.R. 54 (old) interchange to an urban interchange. This proposed action would provide a more desirable volume to capacity (V /C) ratio and less vehicle delay, thus upgrading safety. Design year projections also indicate the need to upgrade the existing S.R. 54 facility to a six-lane arterial from the 1-75/1-275 connection, north to the existing S.R. 54 interchange. Because there are currently no major east-west routes in the project area, the proposed six-laning of the existing facility would improve levels of service at the 1-75 ramp terminal on S.R. 54.
The proposed project site is located approximately 2 miles south of the existing I-75/S.R. 54 (old) interchange. The new S.R. 54 facility would extend from Cypress Creek Road to the proposed Zephyrhills East Bypass (approximately 18 miles in length). Exhibit 1 illustrates the project location.
The proposed interchange will provide full access to the Interstate from S.R. 54 (new). The interchange justification is being conducted in conjunction with the Project Development and Environmental (PD&E) Study on S.R. 54 and TIS.